Saturday, April 30, 2016
Rain came. Fog out of the slough and horses
asleep in the barn. In the field, sparrow hawks
glittered through the morning clouds.
No dreamers knew the rain. Wind ruffled quills
in the mongrel's nose. He sighed cautiously,
kicked further beneath the weathered shed and slept.
loveswept verses by
the native at home.
They step into the
room again, absent
1940 - 2003
Riding the Earthboy 40
Day after chasing porcupines
Penguin Poets, 2004©
Friday, April 29, 2016
allusions to mental limitation as
really not a coyness seeking comp-
liments? I do. His finer days are
everyone's; so fine, Clare would
have been frustrated. Then a spir-
it bonds with his when he passes
the palette to the reader, whom
he reinforces in his earnestness,
to be empowered and released. He
was often thought to be reckless,
in this generosity. What name can
one give to that success in Clare,
which expects one to succeed it -
to pass, in effect, through it?
The rich brown-umber hue the oaks unfold
When spring's young sunshine bathes their trunks in gold,
So rich, so beautiful, so past the power
Of words to paint - my heart aches for the dower
The pencil gives to soften and infuse
This brown luxuriance of unfolding hues,
This living luscious tinting woodlands give
Into a landscape that might breathe and live,
And this old gate that claps against the tree
The entrance of spring's paradise should be -
Yet paint itself with living nature fails:
The sunshine threading through these broken rails
In mellow shades no pencil e'er conveys,
And mind alone feels fancies and portrays.
The Selected Poetry of
Wood Pictures in Spring
Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2005©
Thursday, April 28, 2016
The news came over the wire at the American Express office in Hydra and we dashed back to town to the Ochre and Brown to assim-ilate it all. The concièrge explained, She's the obvious choice - not only the one running mate who is equally marginal and rejected, she is the one who brings the scar of Trump's victimisation to the table, as a badge of feminism. She is also the only candidate who reviles Planned Parenthood even more than our Ted (having invented the whole foetus-sale big lie), health insurance even more shrilly, and equality every bit as frantically as our Ted.
She, in a word, fits. Can you not hear their parts harmonised in right-wing synchromesh, even as they rocket round the Circus of their bitter Coliseum: every gear change up an exultation of neurotic transcendence; every one down, a groaning, simpering begging for divine intervention?
Time to recalibrate our dread of Clytemnestra, then, would you say? Time for a flight into the duvet and a toke of some recyc-led air? But our true Clytie (Britten's dachsie, we recall) lent her name to a far grander purpose than parsing the cinders of our Parties. This is just a very pretty example, if the loveliest so far, of a season summoning many winding sheets.
Boglioli S/S 2016
Wednesday, April 27, 2016
A friend wrote in the other day,
engaging me on a proposition of
Wittgenstein. This is virtually
the universal daydream of every
sensible person, and represents
moral struggle, even to confide.
People go through their whole life, refraining from remarking on such fulfillment, for fear of complicating a fragility and purity of experience with exposure exciting its discoloration, including that of envy. This I now partially risk, without divulging the substance of the proposition, by observing an effect such a transfer can have.
In this I discover origination, as if working backward through a painting's progress under the same mentality; and I discover vindication of another proposition of Wittgenstein, simply by following its breadcrumbs. The proposition is so explosive, it was only polite finally to present it in sumptuous, stylish paint, even at obvious risk of its whole character; and yet, this benevolence, this gift only gave it permanence.
A new word is like a fresh seed sewn
on the ground of the discussion.
University of Chicago Press, 1980©
Oil on canvas
Musem of Art
Study of the head
of a man
Red and black chalk
1718 - 1719
Museum of Art
Tuesday, April 26, 2016
Every now and again, but
pretty commonly on elec-
tion nights, thought en-
gages the nuanced rhet-
oric of our noblest and
greatest, on the gravi-
tas available to any
of their campaigns, in
a little militancy. To-
night we recall the ur-
gent need to advance a
candidate of historic
qualifications, fond of
war, fond of almost any-
thing we can contribute.
The PAC, the Foundation,
the scratch-my-back re-
ciprocation, really any
abomination, refusing no
Little sealed packets,
honoraria in, honor out.
Anyone who might see our letters,
honorable compare, and see their
variety, would be greatly astonish-
ed, because at first it would seem
we were serious men, completely di-
rected toward weighty matters and
no thought could cascade through
our heads that did not have probity
page, it would seem to the
reader that we - still the
very same selves - were
petty, fickle, lascivious,
and directed toward chimer-
ical matters. If to some
this behavior seems contemp-
tible, to me it seems laud-
able because we are imitat-
ing nature, which is change-
able; whoever imitates na-
ture cannot be censured ..
whoever seeks to act accord-
ing to others will accomplish
nothing, because no two men
who think alike can be found.
I don't like to forget the subtlest
mind on the passions, as well as on
politics at the sublimest apogee of
power's reach, in a time when I'm
lectured every day by social scien-
tists on the limits of their vision.
I especially don't like their prov-
ing Machiavelli wrong, about think-
ing alike, which must be counted as
the most grievous symptom of our es-
trangement from wisdom, first of all.
Possibly the second symptom is very
like it: the broad demand to do so,
to think alike with political lead-
ers whose changeability is only na-
tural, only certain, only false to
The question before one is whether
to go along, again, with travesty,
not of one's own nature, but nature
as it has thrived in other settings.
There's a quadrennial lurching in
this travesty which identifies it
as the staggerings of addiction to
the trendiest, in thinking alike,
as much as the pitchings of a bi-
nomially conditioned people.
If one is to endure a campaign of
daily admonition, to make decora-
tive progress now and then, within
a depleted and debauched political
pasture, would it not occur to one
to accept that pace, for better?
This is Conservatism's argument,
and if it had a humanist, there
would be a renaissance. You can't
get out of Wellesley without be-
ing fitted to that part. But you
can get Wellesley out of you.
To Francesco Vettori
January 31, 1515
A biography of
Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2000©
Gelatin silver print
Monday, April 25, 2016
You'd hear no dissent from the proposition that it was great to see him back from his Winter in Monte-cito. Nor did anyone demur from his proposal, in the small at-home he gave him-self, of a round of char-ades in the bedroom. Who would not extend permis-sion, to a genial dare commanding our assent? But who'd sensibly infer, from his sunburn's whirling, turning parts, an embod-iment unfurling the Swiss Army knife's array of use-ful darts?
Sunday, April 24, 2016
The new unfairness:
having to own up in
public to what I've
vowed for hire, un-
like all the others
who're just like me.
Ah, I see. So would
it be a profession,
or where it is con-
ducted, which draws
the kitchen sink by
simply being yours?
We're in the polish-
ing, burnishing, re-
furbishing, and anx-
phase of our public
scruples, now, pre-
paring for anything
they can mold them-
selves to stomach.
If credulity were a
deltoid we mightn't
need our epaulettes.
acrylic on paper