The Blog of John Walford, British-born, but long resident in The United States. I am an art historian, currently studying satire in Netherlandish art, an amateur photographer, and occasional writer, who writes here about art, photography, and the human condition--some of it ekphratic poetry, responding to works of art. This is to be a site for words and images, interacting on one another, as vehicles of human expression.

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Saturday, December 22, 2007

With words, with numbers, with souls


Ionushi's (Flickr's ionushi / Aurelio Asiain) beautiful work, "With words, with numbers, with souls" (see: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ionushi/2125389214/).

I am inspired by this piece of Ionushi's because it touches a deep instinct common to us all, of whatever creed or culture---the making of offerings and supplications.

He, for his part, writes about it: "This was also taken during the Fudekuyô (筆供養, ふでくよう) ceremony, when brushes of calligraphers and writers, who offered them in gratitude for last year accomplishments and in hopes of better penmanship ability, were reduced to ashes on November 23 at Shogaku-an (正覚庵), a sub-temple of Tofuku-ji Zen complex. See here the still growing slideshow.(En español aquí.)."

This inspired me to write the following in response:

"With words, with numbers, with souls,"....
And most of all with hands,
Wherever found, instincts the same,
To make our plea, or give our thanks,
With raised, outstretched, or offering hands:

Lazarus_at_the_Rich_Man's_Kitchen_Window_I_2007

(Lazarus_at_the_Rich_Man's_Kitchen_Window_I_2007)

We live in many different lands,
And follow many different creeds.
But all we feel to give our thanks,
And hope another year to strive
To do better than our best, this year,
To seize on hope, let go of fear.

Meanwhile, from Wheaton, Illinois,
I send my greetings,
This Christmas time,
Here celebrated, prosaic true,
By three little kids, guess who!



Merry Christmas,  All My Dear Flickr--and Other Watching--Friends!


Ones I love, now that is sure,
They seek the Christ Child to adore.

With my deep appreciation for all the beautiful photographs and thoughts you have shared with us this past year, and my best wishes for Christmas and for 2008,

John Walford, December 22, 2007.

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I am a British-born, art historian, teaching in the USA; I studied law, in England,1964-68; worked part-time in the art world, 1968-69; then studied art history at the Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, 1969-76; completed my Ph.D. diss. at the University of Cambridge, 1981; moved to the States in 1981, and have since written, or co-authored, other books. I am currently studying satire in Netherlandish art. My wife, Maria, was born in Milan, Italy, where she worked as an interpreter, in business; she spent seven years in Switzerland, at the University of Lausanne, 1963-70. She came to Amsterdam in 1971, and we soon married. She is a wife, mother, literary critic, of Italian (and French) literature, and completed her Ph. D. diss. in 2002, at the University of Chicago, on Cesare Pavese and His Critics. We have three married children, and eight grandchildren, all of whom we excessively adore! I welcome dialog about art, photography, human behavior, beliefs, and motivation from all comers, regardless of race, color, gender, orientation, values, or beliefs. This is to be a site for words and images, as vehicles of human expression, around topics of mutual interest.

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