Art Through Time and Space

Monday Morning Musings:

“I think the life of my community and most communities depends on the storytellers. We only know anything about the Roman Empire or about the lives of the people within the Greek polis from the plays that exist. We can find out from historical archives what laws were in place, but who they affected and how they affected those folks and those people – we only know from the stories and from the storytellers of that culture.”

–Tarell Alvin McCraney, playwright, from an interview on All Things Considered, March 2, 2019

 

 

We see, hear, feel art,

the stories of people and places

through many times, in many spaces. . .

Here–in a building of beaux-arts design

an enthusiastic staff helps us find

our relative’s work–mostly signed–

they pull boxes and boxes, and we’re delighted,

excited to see so many sketches and prints,

a box from his WPA tenure, hints

of the world around him,

and then some of tropical splendor–

realism and abstract and in-between–

perhaps a Chagall influence can be seen?

I like to think they knew each other

from their Belarus and French connections

though these are merely my fantasy, projections

I send out into to space

to find a place

in a story I tell. . .

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Well—onward

to another place,

we traipse a bit north

to a university

to see–

and listen

to our daughter talk of art

(be still my heart)

and therapy—

and I’m aware

of all the tales that could be told

young, old, sad, bold–

hers and mine

and those around us,

we capture moments, capture time,

art, part of our stories,

part of our hearts

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Arriving in the mail,

these little bowls,

not great art, but

that wasn’t the goal

instead, when we look at them

we’ll remember part of our story—

a date—a day

to work with clay.

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Then comes another night

another artist

takes his place

with tales and music

we embrace

 

Bruce Springsteen’s show

he says it’s magic

and so, we’re caught in his spell

as he tells us about his life

his parents, his mentors

his friends, his wife,

we learn about the boyhood beech tree

he climbed, but now it’s ceased to be,

moving tales of his father

then his mother

and all the others,

people who influenced him

to tell his stories in music,

the songs of generations come

and gone.

 

Another day,

there’s rhythm and swing,

and it does mean a thing

telling a story of people and place

strings, horn, and bass,

blues chords and a riff–

there, a glimpse of what if?

Ella and Count Basie,

nothing too racy, just jazz with a pop

a trumpet note that might never stop,

and we’re clapping for the tapping

but when we go outside

the rain has turned to snow.

The mood? Let’s call it indigo

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Watching the Snow

Watching the snow. Mood Indigo, or perhaps Kind of Blue.

 

And so, it goes–

we walk to the train

and it’s home again

to think of stories in music,

and rhyme

that have inspired us,

traveled through time

from place to place

and made homes

in our hearts and minds.

This urge to create,

we’re fated to generate

and express our feelings,

our truth, our passion–

whatever the fashion,

the stories find their way

even when we go,

they stay–

a testament to what was,

or what could be,

a world that maybe

only the artist can see.

 

My daughter made this Web site about Abraham Hankins. It’s a work-in-progress

The staff at the print department at the Free Library in Philadelphia were so helpful and enthusiastic. What a pleasure to visit there! You can follow them on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/freelibrarypix/

We watched Springsteen on Broadway on Netflix. Trailer here.

Friends very kindly offered us their tickets for a Philly Pops concert when they couldn’t use them. It was a fun concert, though we cancelled our plans to go out afterward because of the weather.

 

 

Fair and Foul and Fair

Monday Morning Musings:

“So fair and foul a day I have not seen.”

–William Shakespeare, Macbeth, Act I, Scene 3

“To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.”

–William Shakespeare, Macbeth, Act V, Scene 5

“A library is infinity under a roof.”

—Gail Carson Levine

 

I lust for language–

a thousand symphonies play in my head

like light on water, ripples tripling

the glowing

flowing,

sending words, like spindrift into the sky

never lies,

but truth amplified.

I see the storms of summer spring

and hear the mockingbird sing

in night and day

he stays–

wanting love and standing guard

his tiny body working hard.

I feel

(ever present)

the ghosts around me sighing

and do they fear

from year to year

what was and what will be?

The circling of time

and life beating

(so fleeting),

but renewed again and again.

 

We walk through galleries

and by the river

(life giver)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

flowing through a city that has grown

built with wood, and bricks, and stone,

a nation conceived, and ideas flown

(now people find them on their phones).

But still—here they are gathered

scattered on grass

biking, running,

or rowing, sun-glimmered,

forward and back

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

like time

(the Muse says)–

they’re in their prime

now

in this clime

the moment frozen in a thought

or captured in a rhyme

but before long

they will be gone.

 

Museums and libraries

I celebrate–

spread my books out on a table

enabling those who pass to see them better

West Deptford Public Library Book Festival

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

to read the letters and titles

though mine don’t sell

people stop by to wish me well

and support the work I do—

telling the truth

when some others seldom do.

 

We go out later to drink some wine

and dine in the open air

Sharrott Winery, Hammonton, NJ

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

the day turns fair, then foul, then fair

where birds flutter and fly

and children cry

with delight

running in fields in the fading light.

 

We see the Scottish play

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

on a cooler day–

then again it moves from foul to fair

threatening skies to a more spring-like air.

But inside this grand library

Free Library of Philadelphia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

something wicked this way comes

though there are only two witches instead of three

(something in this version that bothered me).

Yet the acting is good, and the Macbeths

both powerful and vulnerable

to fate

that they help to make.

As the drum beats. and the swords fly

time in the theater passes by,

and tales from another age verify

the universals truths of humankind

(though this production streamlined),

all the tomorrows,

and the yesterdays,

the sound and the fury,

our vision often blurry

during our brief stay—

and yet we find a way

with stories and art

to share our hearts.

 

Once we had leaders who valued art

and learning,

understood the yearning to know

truth and beauty.

It is our duty

then to spread such ideas,

no matter what he says

and they believe

the false faces and words

that constantly deceive.

Yes, the storm is coming

and let it blow

away the discordant tunes

and the starless nights

for bright humming moons

and radiant light.

 

Sister Cities Fountain