Thursday, July 26, 2012

gives me chills in summertime

Two Countries by Naomi Shihab Nye

Skin remembers how long the years grow
when skin is not touched, a gray tunnel
of singleness, feather lost from the tail
of a bird, swirling onto a step,
swept away by someone who never saw
it was a feather. Skin ate, walked,
slept by itself, knew how to raise a
see-you-later hand. But skin felt
it was never seen, never known as
a land on the map, nose like a city,
hip like a city, gleaming dome of the mosque
and the hundred corridors of cinnamon and rope.

Skin had hope, that's what skin does.
Heals over the scarred place, makes a road.
Love means you breathe in two countries.
And skin remembers--silk, spiny grass,
deep in the pocket that is skin's secret own.
Even now, when skin is not alone,
it remembers being alone and thanks something larger
that there are travelers, that people go places
larger than themselves.

Monday, July 23, 2012


The advice I like to give young artists, or really anybody who’ll listen to me, is not to wait around for inspiration. Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work. If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work. All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself. Things occur to you. If you’re sitting around trying to dream up a great art idea, you can sit there a long time before anything happens. But if you just get to work, something will occur to you and something else will occur to you and something else that you reject will push you in another direction. Inspiration is absolutely unnecessary and somehow deceptive. You feel like you need this great idea before you can get down to work, and I find that’s almost never the case. ~ Chuck Close

Sunday, July 1, 2012

English Romantic

 Remembering a line from P.B. Shelley I adored in my super-romantic high school days - "Soul meets soul on lovers' lips" - I went trolling and suddenly remembered how much I love this man's writing, different as it is from the written aesthetic by which I'm normally floored. What a wonderful reawakening!

   I spin beneath my pyramid of night
   Which points into the heavens, dreaming delight,
Murmuring victorious joy in my enchanted sleep;
   As a youth lulled in love-dreams faintly sighing,
   Under the shadow of his beauty lying,
Which round his rest a watch of light and warmth doth
   As in the soft and sweet eclipse,
   When soul meets soul on lovers’ lips,
High hearts are calm, and brightest eyes are dull;
   So when thy shadow falls on me,
   Then am I mute and still, by thee
Covered; of thy love, Orb most beautiful,
      Full, oh, too full!

by Percy Bysshe Shelley (4 August 1792 – 8 July 1822)
from Prometheus Unbound

by Percy Bysshe Shelly (1792-1822)
      ARISE from dreams of thee
      In the first sweet sleep of night,
      When the winds are breathing low,
      And the stars are shining bright.
      I arise from dreams of thee,
      And a spirit in my feet
      Hath led me -- who knows how?
      To thy chamber window, Sweet!
      The wandering airs they faint
      On the dark, the silent stream--
      And the Champak's odours [pine]
      Like sweet thoughts in a dream;
      The nightingale's complaint,
      It dies upon her heart,
      As I must on thine,
      O belov├Ęd as thou art!
      O lift me from the grass!
      I die! I faint! I fail!
      Let thy love in kisses rain
      On my lips and eyelids pale.
      My cheek is cold and white, alas!
      My heart beats loud and fast:
      O press it to thine own again,
      Where it will break at last!