Poetry for a New Age

The Beginning of a Small Still Life

The Beginning of a Small Still Life

Only poetry can fill the moral vacuum and give to progress a truly creative force.  Poetry awakens and enlarges the mind itself by rendering it the receptacle of a thousand unapprehended combinations of thought.  Poetry lifts the veil from the hidden beauty of the world.

Percy Bysshe Shelley

My summer school class closed out the Romantic unit today and will open the Victorian tomorrow.  But that doesn’t mean I have to stop reading Wordsworth, Keats and Shelley.  Sometimes I move on personally in my reading as the curriculum moves on; sometimes I lag behind, and this time I am glad to do the latter.  Today I have been enriched by Shelley’s “Ode to the West Wind” and “Ozymandias.”  I also took some time to re-read the chapter covering his biography in a small book titled Intellectuals that I purchased a few years ago and have enjoyed perusing.

Once I got home to the studio I immediately went to work on this small still life that I began yesterday.  I only got to lay in the background washes on the previous day–six layers of them all told.  I had to spend a great deal of time waiting for each layer to dry (plenty of quality reading time!).  After spending considerable time working on the spine of this one volume, I’m finally starting to figure some things out–it’s not coming easily, by any means.  The volume dates from around 1756, and I was ecstatic to learn that this book (Newton’s Dissertation on the Prophecies) was on Ralph Waldo Emerson’s reading list of ten books when he entered Harvard Divinity School.  I traded a watercolor for this old volume back around 1975 when I lived in north Missouri.  The front cover is detached and the back cover has been lost.  The book also has broken in half, right down the center of the spine.  So it has no monetary value.  But I have enjoyed it as a prop for years.  In fact, I used it on a large acryilc painting I did of Nietzsche back in the late 1980’s.  I’ll post the picture if I can find an image of it somewhere–I sold the painting many years back.  

We’ll see if I can manage a decent watercolor of the book, up close and personal.  I’m working on it now as I gallery-sit as a volunteer for Trinity Arts Guild in Bedord, Texas.  The place is pretty quiet so far, so I’m able to get some quality work done.

Thanks for reading.

I paint in order to remember.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.

Pat Weaver–you can extract just as much philosophy from one stanza of poetry as a chapter from Kant.

Clay Boley–King James Bible stays with you longer than Living Bible because you have to work at it, you have to linger over the text to “get it.”

On my 60th birthday, I thought about the discipline of writing poetic verse, and the thrift of language.

Seated at my writing desk,looking out at the glittering lights, I strive for a sense of optimism, a feeling that as small as I am, what I am doing still matters in the scheme of things.”

Julia Cameron, Finding Water

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