No matter what is going on
Never give up
Develop the heart
Too much energy in your country
Is spent developing the mind
Instead of the heart
Be compassionate
Not just to your friends
But to everyone
Be compassionate
Work for peace
In your heart and in the world
Work for peace
And I say again
Never give up
No matter what is going on around you
Never give up

                ~His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama

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Fiat Lux

Angel underway:
(The ribbons behind the ears of Eastern angels always flutter, to indicate they perpetually hear the whisper of God.)

And, with thanks to Lisa S., who sent it way long ago:

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.

Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.

Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting—
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

             ~ 'Wild Geese'  by Mary Oliver

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“Birds with Human Souls”

    A delightful book called Birds with Human Souls, A Guide to Bird Symbolism (Beryl Rowland, 1978) was given me by a dear friend (Cindy! You!). Amongst many a wonder, it tells of ancient Athenian coins on which “a chubby, smiling goddess with a plain helmet appeared with a well-groomed, self-confident owl.”
    It mentions the great flock of owl coins produced from the Laureotic silver mines, and quotes the most charming depiction of financial prosperity I’ve ever read:

Little Laureotic owlets
Shall be always flocking in:
You shall find them all about you,
As the dainty brood increases,
Building nests within your purses;
Hatching little silver pieces.

              ~ Aristophanes, The Birds, c. 414 BC

May many dear little owlets roost with us all during the coming year...

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Thursday, March 12, 2009 at 10:02 AM

(Click on image to visit Okhla Bird Park preservation petition)

'What are humans without the beasts? If all the beasts were gone, men would die from great loneliness of spirit, for whatever happens to the beast also happens to man. All things are connected. Whatever befalls the earth befalls the sons and daughters of the earth.'

  ~ Chief Seattle, letter to President Franklin Pierce, 1855

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Forget-Me-Nots for the Dodo Bird

"The beauty and genius of a work of art may be reconceived, though its first material expression be destroyed; a vanished harmony may yet again inspire the composer; but when the last individual of a race of living beings breathes no more, another heaven and another earth must pass before such a one can be again."
                                                                        ~  William Beebe

(With thanks to Bob Bills for the quote above.)

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Martha Graham said...

I've posted this quote before, but it seems a good one for the new year:

"There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium, and (it) will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is, nor how it compares with other expression. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly-- to keep the channel open."
                                               ~ Martha Graham

The great dancer and choreographer also said:
"The body says what words cannot."
"Dance is the hidden language of the soul."

I believe these thoughts are keys to figurative sculpture, as well.

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Tuesday, August 26, 2008 at 04:40 PM

Friends, Kind  and Patient:
I am  embroiled in the horrid process of moving... back from Rhode Island to Colorado, again. A strange year indeed, going on two strange years.  More when my brain does surface. I trust it will... it has gone into  hiding. Meantime, a thought from one of my favorite writers of strange stories:

"I care about the literary art, and I know exactly what the Ancients meant by 'the promptings of the Muse'. The stories which I consider to be my most successful came to me as if dictated...  The true ghost story is akin to poetry:  only in part is it a conscious construction, and when the Muse does not speak, you cannot write it."
                              ~  "An Essay" by Robert Aickman  1914 - 1981

To my mind, Robert Aickman was one of the very few writers to capture the genuine strangeness of dream;  insinuating, inevitable and obscure.

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To do the deed at hand.

“To cast aside regret and fear. To do the deed at hand.”
                            ~ J. R. R. Tolkien, The Two Towers, Gandalf 

    Regret and fear: these two I have wrestled with throughout this last year. One’s world being shaken sufficiently, basilisks rise from the crevasse of memory to fix the mind in a glare of paralyzing hindsight. Up rear blunders of omission, blind unkindnesses, losses through ignorance. A terrible falling short. It is one’s own errors that are hardest to forgive, in the end, and hindsight produces the most weary breed of sorrow, surely.
    What then of doing the deed at hand? I think that therein lies one of the uses of humility, if I understand that virtue at all: to relinquish the desire, or the torment of the failed desire, to have done and been right, in the interest of doing right now and in future. Or as much ‘right’ as one is capable of perceiving. Releasing the tendrils of regret to follow, as best one may, the thread of fresh insight.

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Edith Wharton's Dream

A dream (with which I suspect many of us could identify at one time or another) reported by novelist Edith Wharton, 1913:

“A pale demon with black hair came in, followed by four gnome-like creatures carrying a great black trunk. They set it down and opened it, and the Demon, crying out: ‘Here’s your year - here are all the horrors that have happened to you and that are still going to happen’ dragged out a succession of limp black squirming things and threw them on the floor before me. They were not rags or creatures, not living or dead - they were Black Horrors, shapeless, and that seemed to writhe about as they fell at my feet, and yet were as inanimate as bits of stuff. But none of these comparisons occurred to me, for I knew what they were: the hideous, the incredible things that had happened to me in this dreadful year, or were to happen to me before its close; and I stared, horror-struck, as the Demon dragged them out, one by one, more and more, till finally, flinging down a blacker, hatefuller one, he said laughing: ‘There - that’s the last of them!’
     The gnomes laughed too; but I, as I stared at the great black pile and the empty trunk, said to the Demon:  ‘Are you sure it hasn’t a false bottom?’

    ~ Edith Wharton, October 1913, from Edith Wharton, by R.W.B. Lewis, 1975

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Monday, July 23, 2007 at 10:58 PM

    O western wind, when wilt thou blow,
    That the small rain down can rain?
    Christ, that my love were in my arms,
    And I in my bed again!

                                                  ~ Anonymous

Kind friends,
I'm still here in Colorado, far from home, attempting to get my mother's paintings gathered, her house laid straight and clean, and her business settled.  Thank you so very much for your kind many words, both here and via e-mail.  I hoard them, and will -- yes, really, really will -- be responding!

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Swan Maiden, on moss

The White Birds

I WOULD that we were, my beloved, white birds on the foam of the sea:   
We tire of the flame of the meteor, before it can pass by and flee;   
And the flame of the blue star of twilight, hung low on the rim of the sky,   
Has awaked in our hearts, my beloved, a sadness that never may die.   

A weariness comes from those dreamers, dew-dabbled, the lily and rose,            
Ah, dream not of them, my beloved, the flame of the meteor that goes,   
Or the flame of the blue star that lingers hung low in the fall of the dew:   
For I would we were changed to white birds on the wandering foam—I and you.   

I am haunted by numberless islands, and many a Danaan shore,   
Where Time would surely forget us, and Sorrow come near us no more:            
Soon far from the rose and the lily, the fret of the flames, would we be,   
Were we only white birds, my beloved, buoyed out on the foam of the sea.

                                                  ~ William Butler Yeats (1865–1939)

The Daughter of Lir, again, with a hand for scale. Tech note: you can  see the brass rod extending  from her hip -- it fits into a brass tube in her base (partly seen, lower right) and also can hold her steady when inserted in the material of choice (moss, for instance).

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A fruitful New Year to us all...

Frightfully popular in its time, but often remembered only in bits:

The Road Not Taken
TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,   
And sorry I could not travel both   
And be one traveler, long I stood   
And looked down one as far as I could   
To where it bent in the undergrowth;            

Then took the other, as just as fair,   
And having perhaps the better claim,   
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;   
Though as for that the passing there   
Had worn them really about the same,            

And both that morning equally lay   
In leaves no step had trodden black.   
Oh, I kept the first for another day!   
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,   
I doubted if I should ever come back.            

I shall be telling this with a sigh   
Somewhere ages and ages hence:   
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—   
I took the one less traveled by,   
And that has made all the difference.            

                  ~Robert Frost (1874–1963). 
                   Mountain Interval.  1920.

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