Sunday, August 23, 2009

The farmer's Market, Copley Square.

Here in this great space, sandwiched between Richardson's Trinity church and McKim's library, In this place of sophisticated aesthetics erupts a celebration of Ceres. A dionynisia of fertility and plenty and beauty, beauty of fruits, beauty of light, beauty of people.

The sky is a pale cobalt cup, a Ming cup, still and translucent and radient.

The lowering rays of sun steal through the branches of the trees and explode in brilliance on the white marquees that shelter under them.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The quality of mercy

"..... it is twice blest;
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes:
'Tis mightiest in the mightiest: it becomes
The throned monarch better than his crown;

In the BBC on line news, as well as other sources, I see that the Lockerbie bomber is to be returned to Libya on humanitarian grounds. I am surprised to learn from the associated press that his conviction was not a life sentence but for only 27 years, that there is ground for an appeal, and that many in Britain think him innocent. This was not mentioned in the BBC report, and is rather important in forming an opinion about the situation. I find myself wondering what it means that the sentence was only 27 years, given the heinous nature of the crime, this in itself seems odd. further exploration of the BBC yields this report regarding the likelihood that he was simply a scapegoat. I encourage you to read it before forming an opinion regarding the release. It seems rather clear that the evidence was very tenuous, and even that may have been paid for by our own government, who are now vociferously protesting the release: he purchased clothing in the store of a Maltese merchant. Things often change there appearance when one starts comparing reports.

In the first BBC article, however, there is a statement that deserves careful attention. It is a statement from the Scottish Justice Secretary kenny MacAskill I quote the BBC
He said compassion and mercy were about "upholding the beliefs we seek to live by, remaining true to our values as a people, no matter the severity of the provocation or the atrocity perpetrated".
There is an important concept in this, that we have values and be committed to live by them. In the post 2001 US it often seems to me that whatever the rhetoric about "The War On Terror" the fact is that in the aggressive curtailing of individual rights we give victory to the forces who attack our principles. I find myself asking what our principles are that the ideas of justice, of proof, of mercy and of compassion are so easily perverted by mass hysteria fanned by sound bites and the need for scapegoats. It is not very comforting, but Mr. MacAskill at least seems to have been paying attention to Shakespeare.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

DREAM. 10:45 am

ROW, ROW, ROW......

I'm walking to the garden in Bradock park;

To my little garden plot on this very still

Saturday morning, very still and calm;

And wafting through the air a sound is teasing my ears.

YOUR BOAT.......

I have always wondered that those words

Scan so well. The voice is light and sincere,

Maternal, it seeks my ears so very gently; I sense

A rhythmic movement in the playground at the top of the alley.


So gentle she is, gentle as my own mother

Sweet and simple under a porcelain sky.

Down the stream of life I've flown, gently;

Being gentle has never been hard at all for me.


But oh, my dear mother, the merrily part

That has so often been hard in this my life;

But I have pulled this heavy oar of mine

Happily, no matter how rocky and turbid the stream.

LIFE IS BUT A...........

On the August air the little response failed to carry;

Instead came the rident staccato chime of a child's laugh.

The Alley of the Giant Elm: 10:10am

Saturday, August 8, 2009


I step outside of my series on August to draw your attention to a piece on gay marriage that I encourage every one to read. It has been brought to my attention by "sticky stuff stew." it cuts a bit close to home and is too well written for me to want or need to say very much about it.

Except this: it was a year before the law in Massachusetts allowing gay marriage passed that Aramis and I found ourselves in the position of Bill and Mike in this story. Beth Israel never questioned my rights to direct Aramis's care. There was no searching for papers, only the full recognition of our commitment to one another and my place in his life. My own health problems have made Beth Israel a haven of safety for me, but even before, with Aramis, they had shown a human compassion and respect for relationships that, especially then but even now, was edifying.

My Window

“But about that day or hour no one knows...

And what I say to you I say to all:Keep awake.”

Mark 13: 35 and 37

Listen to me: you could lose this all

Not in the far off sense of environmental catastrophes,

But you, personally. I write this

In bed unable to go out and explore

The shifting meters of sun and cloud;

Hearing only from a distance the occasional bark of dogs

Or the distant wailing of a siren

Mapping the geography of tragedy

While the traffic murmurs.

All those things that never happen, will!

They have happened to me. The stalking specter

Of disease that robs the tongue of taste,

That makes light a searing threat,

That muffles sound and thought

And makes a prison of one's weariness;

Which trades the sky of moving clouds

For a stark white ceiling

And a desperate yearning.

A prisoner in one's own body,

An orphan in one's own city,

A voice crying in a familiar wilderness;

The hand of fate can open

And give you these things unexpected.

So I tell you, walk with your head raised,

Raised to the lofty and infinite sky.

Walk in awareness of the beauty of creation,

The mosaic of green and blue,

The tracing shadows and the jeweled puddles,

The voices of young and old in humanity's chorus;

Walk in this world with joy;

While you can!

Morning, 8:24 a.m.

Some Comments

This is the headpiece to the poem "Dawn"

Before continuing with the progress of this day in August I will make some comments. These images are all of the area immediately around my apartment, as will be the next few. You've seen these locations before. The man walking through the snow in "Orange Pink Sky" is walking on the same path as can be seen "8:26,"and the bollards with iron rings which appear in "Dawn" are also at in my last post showing snow. The have also, by the way, received the attentions of "The South End Knitters." I am fortunate that when I found myself unable to move around, the place I was confined to was so rich in beauty.

I have told you about my pictorial objectives before I started this series, and now that I have shown you some of them I'll tell how my intentions have changed. The change seems to have stuck because as you will realize the images since, since regaining my mobility, have continued to be informed by it. The image that will follow this post "Morning" was the turning point. I made it on a day when I hadn't any choice but to stay put, but you know the latin proverb, "nulla dies sine linea," even when laid low...

This view out of my window (all right, I'll confess, it is actually from the door) is of the yard which quite literally lies outside my window. There are a few spectacular trees and a lot of junk and clutter. I do, after all, look out onto a functioning, unpaved alley, albeit a very nice one. What to do with the beach chairs, cars and garbage pails? What to do with the telephone poles and low hanging wires? I made them a challenge for myself. The artist, in creating, faces a tricky dichotomy. Are the creation of beauty and the depiction of beauty the same thing? It is the difference between coming upon a beautiful view and making a record of it, on the one hand, or taking a much more prosaic view and arranging it in such a way that a formal beauty is achieved that the passerby might never have noticed on the other. What I had to work with included a lot of junk and wires so I decided to accept them as elements in the composition and see what could result. "Morning, 8:24 am" was the result. it was very stimulating to feel that I had created an image that I felt was beautiful from the mix of elements that I was confronted with. The beauty is not a fiction, I do truly experience it out there, but is created in a very complex process of visual selection and processing that the casual snapshot does not partake of. In fact I felt that I had recorded the beauty of my experience rather than the facts of the objects. I'm very proud of that and having done it, I have continued to work with the wires and signs and even the "pedestrian crassness of the playground with it's ground rubber pavement" which you will see shortly.

I have been asked about the word "rident" which appears in the "Dawn" poem and will appear in some others which follow. It is one of my "Thackeray" words. I had to go to the OED to find the meaning: "radiantly joyful"- what other word could describe a child's laugh or the rising of the sun after a storm. English has a huge lexicon of amazing words of which we use only a small percentage, many are duplicates, of course, but many are beautiful, subtle and very specific.

In the corners of the images you will see some lettering and a box. I design these images to be printed on my printer. The sheet size is 13 inches by 19 inches. they are archival prints and I limit the production to 50. Since I am printing them myself I have the ability to number the sequence of the edition in the file itself each time I print one, and I keep records of when and for whom each was printed. I deal with it in a traditional "printmaking" way. Perhaps one day that will matter to someone! The box receives my signature and the date of the print was made.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

8:26 AM

The morning sun grazes Carleton Street.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Saturday, August 1, 2009


...shall I choose the wings of Dawn for my flight...

Cantata "Ich armer Mensch, ich S├╝nenknect" J.S.bach BWV 55

Dawn! Look, the ardent sun is rising,

Rising over West Newton street and the corridor;

Rising in the East, or at least seems to be so.

But you perhaps remember that it is we,

And with us this delicate, nacreous sky,

Pearl, mother of pearl, mother of us all,

We with our lungs, and with our fragile,

Our mysterious and powerful air,

We are rising as we spin, hurtling

Through the dark and starry void.

We are spinning on our wobbly axis

Like the top of some giant child.

Whirling so fast he couldn't even see us

As we crawl across the South West Corridor Park.

How rident would be that child's laugh-

And perhaps at our expense as we swarm

In our self absorbed festering across this globe;

As we trace our frantic orbit, spinning on our way.

Spinning, and West Newton Street

has just rushed to edge of light

Where the warm and the vibrant;

Where the massively energetic orb

Is glimmering into view to gild this August day.

And that man, do you see him there?

He is spinning at 1000 miles per hour

While being thrown through the track of our orbit

At sixty seven times that speed, and he is walking;

Being late for work he's charging at perhaps

Six miles per hour; my goodness!

What must the addition of his velocity be?

And he is still determinedly upright.

And what is stranger, he doesn't even notice!

The hours of my days

“In a summer season, when soft was the sun.”

Piers Plowman

Here, let me show you what is outside my door, mundane though it may seem, with its traffic signs and telephone wires and the pedestrian crassness of the playground equipment and its ground rubber pavement.

But it is also under the lofty infinite sky, and caressed by the eddies of breeze, gilded by the sun and jeweled with puddles. I want to show you, look and see the world that Courbet and Constable painted- it is right there, all around you, you are walking through it right now.

Hear the symphonic cacophony of our laughter, and chatter, and dog barks, backed by the murmuring continuo of the ever moving traffic and the percussion of our footsteps.

Even in the most ordinary view there is splendor, I invite you to see it, to swoon in it’s beauty; because,you see, tomorrow you, or it, may be no more.

Believe me, I know!

“August; the hours of my days” is a series of images and text which chronicle my daily journeys through the month of my birth. In it I attempt to depict the passage of the sun, the movement of clouds, and the feeling and beauty of the hours of my days.

GoudamentBricks is a typeface by Manfred Klien