Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Winter Nights

Two Venitian Ladies  Vittore Carpaccio
Now Winter Nights Enlarge
by Thomas Campion

Now winter nights enlarge 
This number of their hours; 
And clouds their storms discharge 
Upon the airy towers.
Let now the chimneys blaze 
And cups o'erflow with wine, 
Let well-tuned words amaze 
With harmony divine... 

This time doth well dispense 
With lovers' long discourse; 
Much speech hath some defense, 
Though beauty no remorse. 
All do not all things well:
Some measures comely tread, 
Some knotted riddles tell, 
Some poems smoothly read. 
The summer hath his joys, 
And winter his delights; 
Though love and all his pleasures are but toys 
 They shorten tedious nights.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Sleigh Ride

Central Park Winter Skating Pond    Currier and Ives
The First Sleigh-Ride
by Evaleen Stein
O happy time of fleecy rime 
And falling flakes, and O 
The glad surprise in baby eyes 
That never saw the snow!

Down shining ways the flying sleighs 
Go jingling by, and see! 
Beside the gate the horses wait 
And neigh for you and me!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Snowdrift   Frederick Judd Waugh
Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening
by Robert Frost

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Winter in the City

Snow in New York   Robert Henri
                             by Dorothy Aldis
The street cars are
Like frosted cakes --
All covered up
With cold snowflakes.

The horses' hoofs
Scrunch on the street;
Their eyelashes
Are white with sleet.

And everywhere
The people go --
With faces tickled
By the snow.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Through the Eyes of Love

A Lady and Two Gentlemen  Johannes Vermeer
Sonnet 100
                  by William Shakespeare
Where art thou, Muse, that thou forget'st so long
To speak of that which gives thee all thy might?
Spend'st thou thy fury on some worthless song,
Darkening thy power to lend base subjects light?
Return, forgetful Muse, and straight redeem
In gentle numbers time so idly spent;
Sing to the ear that doth thy lays esteem
And gives thy pen both skill and argument.
Rise, resty Muse, my love's sweet face survey,
If Time have any wrinkle graven there;
If any, be a satire to decay,
And make Time's spoils despised every where.
Give my love fame faster than Time wastes life;
So thou prevent'st his scythe and crooked knife.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving Day

Freedom from Want  Norman Rockwell
Giving Thanks
by an Unknown Poet
For the hay and the corn and the wheat that is reaped,
For the labor well done, and the barns that are heaped,
For the sun and the dew and the sweet honeycomb,
For the rose and the song and the harvest brought home--
Thanksgiving! Thanksgiving!

For the trade and the skill and the wealth in our land,
For the cunning and strength of the workingman's hand,
For the good that our artists and poets have taught,
For the friendship that hope and affection have brought--
Thanksgiving! Thanksgiving!

For the homes that with purest affection are blest,
For the season of plenty and well-deserved rest,
For our country extending from sea unto sea;
The land that is known as the "Land of the Free" --
Thanksgiving! Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving Eve

Old Woman in Prayer  Nicolaes Maes

Thanksgiving Exhortations  
from Deuteronomy 8:7-18
For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land,
a land of brooks of water, 
of fountains and springs, that flow out of valleys and hills; 
a land of wheat and barley,
of vines and fig trees and pomegranates,
a land of olive oil and honey;  
a land in which you will eat bread without scarcity,
in which you will lack nothing; 
a land whose stones are iron and out of whose hills you can dig copper.
When you have eaten and are full, 
then you shall bless the LORD your God 
for the good land which He has given you. 

“Beware that you do not forget the LORD your God 
by not keeping His commandments, His judgments, and His statutes
 which I command you today, 
lest—when you have eaten and are full,
and have built beautiful houses and dwell in them; 
and when your herds and your flocks multiply, 
and your silver and your gold are multiplied, 
and all that you have is multiplied; 
when your heart is lifted up, 
and you forget the LORD your God
who brought you out of the land of Egypt, 
from the house of bondage; 
who led you through that great and terrible wilderness,
in which were fiery serpents and scorpions
and thirsty land where there was no water; 
who brought water for you out of the flinty rock; 
who fed you in the wilderness with manna, 
which your fathers did not know, 
that He might humble you and that He might test you, 
to do you good in the end— 
then you say in your heart, 
‘My power and the might of my hand have gained me this wealth.’  
 “And you shall remember the LORD your God, 
for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, 
that He may establish His covenant
which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


The Snowstorm  Francisco DeGoya
It sifts from Leaden Sieves
by Emily Dickinson
It sifts from Leaden Sieves —
It powders all the Wood.
It fills with Alabaster Wool
The Wrinkles of the Road —

It makes an Even Face
Of Mountain, and of Plain —
Unbroken Forehead from the East
Unto the East again —

It reaches to the Fence —
It wraps it Rail by Rail
Till it is lost in Fleeces —
It deals Celestial Vail

To Stump, and Stack - and Stem —
A Summer’s empty Room —
Acres of Joints, where Harvests were,
Recordless, but for them —

It Ruffles Wrists of Posts
As Ankles of a Queen —
Then stills its Artisans — like Ghosts —
Denying they have been —

Monday, November 22, 2010

Novemeber 22, 1963

President John F. Kennedy  Cecil Calvert Beall
From Inaugural Address
by John F. Kennedy, January 20th 1961
And so, my fellow Americans: 
ask not what your country can do for you - 
ask what you can do for your country.

My fellow citizens of the world: 
ask not what America will do for you, 
but what together we can do for the freedom of man.

Finally, whether you are citizens of America or citizens of the world, 
ask of us the same high standards of strength and sacrifice which we ask of you. 
With a good conscience our only sure reward, 
with history the final judge of our deeds, 
let us go forth to lead the land we love, 
asking His blessing and His help, 
but knowing that here on earth 
God's work must truly be our own.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Mother Love

Sleepy Baby  Mary Cassatt
         by George MacDonald
Where did you come from, baby dear?
Out of the everywhere into here.

Where did you get those eyes so blue?
Out of the sky as I came through.

What makes the light in them sparkle and spin?
Some of the starry twinkles left in.

Where did you get that little tear?
I found it waiting when I got here.

What makes your forehead so smooth and high?
A soft hand stroked it as I went by.

What makes your cheek like a warm white rose?
I saw something better than any one knows.

Whence that three-cornered smile of bliss?
Three angels gave me at once a kiss.

Where did you get this pearly ear?
God spoke, and it came out to hear.

Where did you get those arms and hands?
Love made itself into bonds and bands.

Feet, whence did you come, you darling things?
From the same box as the cherubs’ wings.

How did they all just come to be you?
God thought about me, and so I grew.

But how did you come to us, you dear?
God thought about you, and so I am here.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

To See or Not to See, That is the Question

Self Portrait With Spectacles   Jean-Baptiste Simeon Chardin
Peekaboo, I Almost See You 
                by Ogden Nash

Middle-aged life is merry, and I love to lead it,
But there comes a day when your eyes are all right but your arm isn’t
   long enough to hold the telephone book where you can read it,
And your friends get jocular, so you go to the oculist,
And of all your friends he is the joculist,
So over his facetiousness let us skim,
Only noting that he has been waiting for you ever since you said
   Good evening to his grandfather clock under the impression that
   it was him,
And you look at his chart and it says SHRDLU QWERTYOP, and
   you say Well, why SHRDNTLU QWERTYOP? and he says
   one set of glasses won’t do.
You need two,
One for reading Erle Stanley Gardner’s Perry Mason and Keats’s “Endymion” with,
And the other for walking around without saying Hello to strange wymion with.
So you spend your time taking off your seeing glasses to put on your
   reading glasses, and then remembering that your reading glasses
   are upstairs or in the car,
And then you can’t find your seeing glasses again because without
   them on you can’t see where they are.
Enough of such mishaps, they would try the patience of an ox,
I prefer to forget both pairs of glasses and pass my declining years
   saluting strange women and grandfather clocks

Friday, November 19, 2010

November 19, 1863

The Gettysburg Address  Mort Kunstler
The Gettysburg Address
by Abraham Lincoln
Four score and seven years ago 
our fathers brought forth, upon this continent, 
a new nation, conceived in Liberty, 
and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, 
testing whether that nation, 
or any nation so conceived, and so dedicated, 
can long endure. 
We are met here on a great battlefield of that war. 
We have come to dedicate a portion of it as a final resting place 
for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. 
It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But in a larger sense we can not dedicate - 
we can not consecrate - 
we can not hallow this ground. 
The brave men, 
living and dead, 
who struggled, here, 
have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract. 
The world will little note, 
nor long remember, 
what we say here, 
but can never forget what they did here.

It is for us, the living, 
rather to be dedicated here 
to the unfinished work which they have, 
thus far, so nobly carried on. 
It is rather for us to be here dedicated 
to the great task remaining before us - 
that from these honored dead 
we take increased devotion to that cause 
for which they here gave the last full measure of devotion - 
that we here highly resolve 
that these dead shall not have died in vain; 
that this nation shall have a new birth of freedom; 
and that this government of the people, 
by the people, 
for the people, 
shall not perish from the earth.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Hearty Soup for a Cold Day

Soup   William-Adolphe Bouguereau
Beautiful Soup
              by Lewis Carroll
BEAUTIFUL Soup, so rich and green,
Waiting in a hot tureen!
Who for such dainties would not stoop?
Soup of the evening, beautiful Soup!
Soup of the evening, beautiful Soup!

Beau--ootiful Soo-oop!
Beau--ootiful Soo-oop!
Soo--oop of the e--e--evening,
Beautiful, beautiful Soup!

Beautiful Soup! Who cares for fish,
Game, or any other dish?
Who would not give all else for two
Pennyworth only of Beautiful Soup?
Pennyworth only of beautiful Soup?

Beau--ootiful Soo-oop!
Beau--ootiful Soo-oop!
Soo--oop of the e--e--evening,
Beautiful, beauti--FUL SOUP!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Cats Playing Poker  Louis Wain
Macavity, the Mystery Cat
by T. S. Eliot
Macavity's a Mystery Cat: he's called the Hidden Paw--
For he's the master criminal who can defy the Law.
He's the bafflement of Scotland Yard, the Flying Squad's despair:
For when they reach the scene of crime--Macavity's not there!

Macavity, Macavity, there's no on like Macavity,
He's broken every human law, he breaks the law of gravity.
His powers of levitation would make a fakir stare,
And when you reach the scene of crime--Macavity's not there!
You may seek him in the basement, you may look up in the air--
But I tell you once and once again, Macavity's not there!

Macavity's a ginger cat, he's very tall and thin;
You would know him if you saw him, for his eyes are sunken in.
His brow is deeply lined with thought, his head is highly doomed;
His coat is dusty from neglect, his whiskers are uncombed.
He sways his head from side to side, with movements like a snake;
And when you think he's half asleep, he's always wide awake.

Macavity, Macavity, there's no one like Macavity,
For he's a fiend in feline shape, a monster of depravity.
You may meet him in a by-street, you may see him in the square--
But when a crime's discovered, then Macavity's not there!

He's outwardly respectable. (They say he cheats at cards.)
And his footprints are not found in any file of Scotland Yard's.
And when the larder's looted, or the jewel-case is rifled,
Or when the milk is missing, or another Peke's been stifled,
Or the greenhouse glass is broken, and the trellis past repair--
Ay, there's the wonder of the thing! Macavity's not there!

And when the Foreign Office finds a Treaty's gone astray,
Or the Admiralty lose some plans and drawings by the way,
There may be a scap of paper in the hall or on the stair--
But it's useless of investigate--Macavity's not there!
And when the loss has been disclosed, the Secret Service say:
"It must have been Macavity!"--but he's a mile away.
You'll be sure to find him resting, or a-licking of his thumbs,
Or engaged in doing complicated long division sums.

Macavity, Macavity, there's no one like Macacity,
There never was a Cat of such deceitfulness and suavity.
He always has an alibit, or one or two to spare:
And whatever time the deed took place--MACAVITY WASN'T THERE!
And they say that all the Cats whose wicked deeds are widely known
(I might mention Mungojerrie, I might mention Griddlebone)
Are nothing more than agents for the Cat who all the time
Just controls their operations: the Napoleon of Crime!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

In The Kingdom by the Sea

The Enchantress  Arthur Hughes
Annabel Lee
              by Edgar Allan Poe
It was many and many a year ago,
In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
By the name of Annabel Lee;
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
Than to love and be loved by me.

I was a child and she was a child,
In this kingdom by the sea;
But we loved with a love that was more than love -
I and my Annabel Lee;
With a love that the winged seraphs of heaven
Coveted her and me.
And this was the reason that, long ago,
In this kingdom by the sea,
A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling
My beautiful Annabel Lee;
So that her highborn kinsman came
And bore her away from me,
To shut her up in a sepulcher
In this kingdom by the sea.
The angels, not half so happy in heaven,
Went envying her and me
Yes! that was the reason
(as all men know, In this kingdom by the sea)
That the wind came out of the cloud by night,
Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.

But our love was stronger by far than the love
Of those who were older than we
Of many far wiser than we
And neither the angels in heaven above,
Nor the demons down under the sea,
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee.
For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And the stars never rise but I feel the bright eyes
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
Of my darling, my darling, my life and my bride,
In the sepulcher there by the sea,
In her tomb by the sounding sea.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Antiquity's Disquietude

Approach of the Simoon, Desert of Gizeh  David Roberts
                by Percy Bysshe Shelley
I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: "Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
`My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!'
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away".

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Divine Intervention

The Crossing of the Red Sea  Bernadino Luini
Miriam's Song
      from Exodus 15:21
Sing to the LORD,
             for he is highly exalted.
     Both horse and driver
                  he has hurled into the sea.

Saturday, November 13, 2010


The Thread Spinners  Diego Velazquez
Each Life Converges to some Centre
                   by Emily Dickinson
Each Life Converges to some Centre --
Expressed -- or still --
Exists in every Human Nature
A Goal --

Embodied scarcely to itself -- it may be --
Too fair
For Credibility's presumption
To mar --

Adored with caution -- as a Brittle Heaven --
To reach
Were hopeless, as the Rainbow's Raiment
To touch --

Yet persevered toward -- sure -- for the Distance --
How high --
Unto the Saint's slow diligence --
The Sky --

Ungained -- it may be -- by a Life's low Venture --
But then --
Eternity enable the endeavoring

Friday, November 12, 2010

Ivories Tickling Memories

Madame Misia Godebska Natanson  Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec
by D. H. Lawrence 

Softly, in the dusk, a woman is singing to me;
Taking me back down the vista of years, till I see
A child sitting under the piano, in the boom of the tingling strings
And pressing the small, poised feet of a mother who smiles as she sings.

In spite of myself, the insidious mastery of song
Betrays me back, till the heart of me weeps to belong
To the old Sunday evenings at home, with winter outside
And hymns in the cosy parlour, the tinkling piano our guide.

So now it is vain for the singer to burst into clamour
With the great black piano appassionato. The glamour
Of childish days is upon me, my manhood is cast
Down in the flood of remembrance, I weep like a child for the past.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veteran's Day, Armistice Day, Remembrance Day

Poppies  Claude Monet
In Flanders Fields
by John McCrae
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
      Between the crosses, row on row,
   That mark our place; and in the sky
   The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
   Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
         In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
   The torch; be yours to hold it high.
   If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
         In Flanders fields.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Global Perspectives

I and the Village  Marc Chagall
from Salut au Monde!
by Walt Whitman

What do you see Walt Whitman?
Who are they you salute, and that one after another salute you?
I see a great round wonder rolling through space,
I see diminute farms, hamlets, ruins, graveyards, jails, factories,
palaces, hovels, huts of barbarians, tents of nomads upon the surface,
I see the shaded part on one side where the sleepers are sleeping,
and the sunlit part on the other side,
I see the curious rapid change of the light and shade,
I see distant lands, as real and near to the inhabitants of them as
my land is to me.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Ah, Venice

Piazza San Marcos Venice  Auguste Renior
On the Extinction of the Venetian Republic  
by William Wordsworth
Once did She hold the gorgeous east in fee;
And was the safeguard of the west: the worth
Of Venice did not fall below her birth,
Venice, the eldest Child of Liberty.
She was a maiden City, bright and free;
No guile seduced, no force could violate;
And, when she took unto herself a Mate,
She must espouse the everlasting Sea.
And what if she had seen those glories fade,
Those titles vanish, and that strength decay;
Yet shall some tribute of regret be paid
When her long life hath reached its final day:
Men are we, and must grieve when even the Shade
Of that which once was great is passed away.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Tiger and Tyger

Tiger  Ito Jakucho
The Tyger: Songs Of Experience
       by William Blake 

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand dare sieze the fire?

And what shoulder, & what art.
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand? & what dread feet?

What the hammer? what the chain?
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?

When the stars threw down their spears,
And watered heaven with their tears,
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?
Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

Sunday, November 7, 2010


Autumn Effect at Argenteuil 1873  Claude Monet
                  by John Farrar
The red leaves fall upon the lake,
The brown leaves drift,
The yellow leaves fly with the wind,
High and swift.

And Autumn nights bring open fires,
With roasted corn,
When silver frosted grasses greet
Early morn.

I fly my kite across the hill,
The slim string breaks,
It flashes like a cloud above
Hills and lakes.

I cannot follow, only stand
And watch it go,
Across far and lonely place
That airplanes know.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

After the Rain

The Rainbow Landscape  Peter Paul Rubens
The Rainbow
                     by Christina Rossetti
Boats sail on the rivers,
And ships sail on the seas;
But clouds that sail across the sky
Are prettier than these.

There are bridges on the rivers,
As pretty as you please;
But the bow that bridges heaven,
And overtops the trees,
And builds a road from earth to sky,
Is prettier far than these.

Friday, November 5, 2010


Cow  Andy Warhol
The Purple Cow
                by Gelett Burgess
(Reflections on a Mythic Beast
Who's Quite Remarkable, at Least.)

I never saw a Purple Cow,
I never hope to see one;
But I can tell you, anyhow,
I'd rather see than be one

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Olden Days

Horse and Buggy Days  Paul Detlefsen
The Village Blacksmith
                               by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Under a spreading chestnut-tree
The village smithy stands;
The smith, a mighty man is he,
With large and sinewy hands;
And the muscles of his brawny arms
Are strong as iron bands.

His hair is crisp, and black, and long,
His face is like the tan;
His brow is wet with honest sweat,
He earns whate'er he can,
And looks the whole world in the face,
For he owes not any man.

Week in, week out, from morn till night,
You can hear his bellows blow;
You can hear him swing his heavy sledge,
With measured beat and slow,
Like a sexton ringing the village bell,
When the evening sun is low.

And children coming home from school
Look in at the open door;
They love to see the flaming forge,
And hear the bellows roar,
And catch the burning sparks that fly
Like chaff from a threshing-floor.

He goes on Sunday to the church,
And sits among his boys;
He hears the parson pray and preach,
He hears his daughter's voice,
Singing in the village choir,
And it makes his heart rejoice.

It sounds to him like her mother's voice,
Singing in Paradise!
He needs must think of her once more,
How in the grave she lies;
And with his haul, rough hand he wipes
A tear out of his eyes.

Onward through life he goes;
Each morning sees some task begin,
Each evening sees it close
Something attempted, something done,
Has earned a night's repose.

Thanks, thanks to thee, my worthy friend,
For the lesson thou hast taught!
Thus at the flaming forge of life
Our fortunes must be wrought;
Thus on its sounding anvil shaped
Each burning deed and thought.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Swept Away at the Theater

The First Outing  Auguste Renoir

At the Theater
                           by Rachel Field
The sun was bright when we went in,
But night and lights were there,
The walls had golden trimming on
And plush on every chair.

The people talked; the music played,
Then it grew black as pitch,
Yes, black as closets full of clothes,
Or caves, I don't know which.

The curtain rolled itself away,
It went I don't know where,
But, oh, that country just beyond,
I do wish we lived there!

The mountain peaks more jagged rise,
Grass grows more green than here;
The people there have redder cheeks,
And clothes more gay and queer.

They laugh and smile, but not the same,
Exactly as we do,
And if they ever have to cry
Their tears are different, too--

More shiny, somehow, and more sad,
You hold your breath to see
If everything will come out right
And they'll live happily;

If Pierrot will kiss Pierrette
Beneath an orange moon,
And Harlequin and Columbine
Outwit old Pantaloon.

You know they will, they alwazys do,
But still, your heart must beat,
And you must pray they will be saved,
And tremble in your seat.

And then it's over and they bow
And edged aabout with light,
The curtain rattles down  and shuts
Them every one from sight.

It's strange to find the afternoon
Still bright outside the door,
And all the people hurrying by
the way they were before!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Coffe or Tea?

A Cup of Tea  Mary Cassatt
Molly, my Sister, and I Fell Out
                              English Rhyme
Molly, my sister, and I fell out,
And what do you think it was about?
She loved coffee and I loved tea,
And that was the reason we could not agree.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Reflections on Refractions

Arlequin  Pablo Picasso
In Broken Images
by Robert Graves
He is quick, thinking in clear images;
I am slow, thinking in broken images.

He becomes dull, trusting to his clear images;
I become sharp, mistrusting my broken images.

Trusting his images, he assumes their relevance;
Mistrusting my images, I question their relevance.

Assuming their relevance, he assumes the fact;
Questioning their relevance, I question their fact.

When the fact fails him, he questions his senses;
when the fact fails me, I approve my senses.

He continues quick and dull in his clear images;
I continue slow and sharp in my broken images.

He in a new confusion of his understanding;
I in a new understanding of my confusion.