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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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Nemesis Fiko's Masumiyet / innocence

"Masumiyet / innocence"

Look into my eyes,
If you dare!
Look deep, and ponder,
Be aware!
I am just a little boy,
Much like yours,
Your brother, son.

I am a Turkish boy,
Behind you see
A minaret.
My people are
Mainly Islam?
And what of yours?
Christian, you say?

Now both from
Abraham descend.
Yet destined we are
At odds to end.
Before you fight
And kill my kin,
Let new life begin.
--JW, 12/30/2008




This "Dove of Peace" also from Nemesis Fiko. See: http://www.flickr.com/photos/nemesisfiko/3138575293/

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Adoration of The Shepherds, Christmas 2008

Adoration: A Winter Wonder

I wandered through the woods at night,
The air was warmer than weeks gone by,
The wind was stiller, the sky was clear,
Here I was close to New Year.
Yet still some days lay ahead,
Before the old year was quite dead.
A break from teaching
Time did allow,
To wander, reflecting,
On then and now.
I thought about the year behind,
Those students who struggled
Tormented in mind.
Why do such people,
Strong and young,
Their lives barely begun,
Yet struggle so?
How to point them to the light?
How to offer hope, my plight?
And then it happened,
My breath did seize,
My body quivered,
Ill at ease.
For there, in shadow,
A group I saw,
Of men who did
A shining babe adore.

Friday, December 26, 2008

"Dead Air's" "Cabin Fever"


Cabin Fever, originally uploaded by Dead Air.


Responding to "Dead Air's" Cabin Fever:

Dead Air comments: "If it weren't for the internet we'd probably be screaming out loud with madness by now..."

To which I respond, with empathy:

"Temperatures here far below zero,
Glad we got our roof back in time,
Shiver, shiver, its so cold!
Thanks for Internet, it's sublime!
Across the air bands,
With image and word,
Bringing greetings
New and old!
Shake the camera,
Chill the lens,
Dead Air once more
Mystery intends."
--JW, 12/21/08
More of Dead Air's work can be seen @ http://www.flickr.com/photos/deadair/

Monday, December 22, 2008

Raising the Rafters for a New Work Space, seen from North-West, Nov 2008

Raising the Roof

A mad professor, the roof ‘tis true did raise
All the better, to voice creation’s praise.
The professoressa, admittedly did flee,
To the basement, warm, at peace to be.

The coldest December in many a year,
Indeed did deliver the worst you could fear,
Sending shivering draughts through our home,
So bad, sometimes the professor was left alone.

Such madness though, its upside had,
Tradesmen, jobless, showed up for work,
Grateful for the Christmas money,
From this home of milk and honey.

Who heard of builders keeping to time?
In this economy, its been sublime!
Ahead of schedule, everything flies,
And at three percent, loans seem a prize.

The professor’s den will soon be done,
Artwork already has been hung,
Heating now the best we ever had,
Room for books, makes my heart glad.

Soon desk, computer, files and more,
Under the roof will find place galore,
And the old man, with a gleeful smile,
Contentedly, can old age beguile.
--JW, 12/19/2008

Sunday, December 21, 2008

A Blurred Class Boundary


A Blurred Class Boundary, originally uploaded by OlliK.

OlliK's "A Blurred Class Boundary"

Time and space,
Space and time--
These two combined,
Make equals of us all.
In that thin film
Of vaporous space
And momentary time,
When two walkers
Paths, by chance,
Do cross,
Gray space,
Gray land,
Gray water,
Gray sky,
All distinctions
Do belie.
--JW, 12/21/08

Having now looked at more than fifty of "OlliK's" recent works, I do not find a single dud among them. I was introduced to OlliK's work by his "Art Cafe" exhibit in the Flickr group of same name, bringing me one of the aesthetic highlights of a long time.

His work is beautifully conceived and executed, focused in its choice of themes, and some of the most beautiful, well-executed work--especially the cloudscapes and landscapes--that I have seen in years.

This particular piece, in its sheer subtlety and economy, is worth a thousand indifferent works on most other people's Flickr photostreams.

So judicious, so well composed, so utterly sublime!

Bravo!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Winter Moon, 2008.JPG


Winter Moon, 2008.JPG, originally uploaded by johnwalford.

Winter Moon

Oh! Winter Moon
Hanging silently and low,
Glowing in Darkness,
Enough by which to know,
I am not alone.
--JW, Dec 10. 2008.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

In Seeing What We Fail To See, 2008

I know some who struggle to see the light on their paths, right now. It happens to all of us at different times. This is for those moments.

"In Seeing, What We Fail To See"

Unseeing, in the painful darkness,
We stare into the void,
Casting around for somewhere,
To find a glimpse,
Even the slightest glimmer
Of warming light,
To relieve the painful
Shadows in our souls.

We chance upon a pool.
There, in the shadows, waiting,
Waiting for our gaze,
Our eye, enchanted,
Lights upon a beauty,
A beauty outside
Yet also, seemingly,
Familiar, inside ourselves.

Hope springs from recognition,
A kindly, kindred spirit,
Affirming what I take for me.
Gazing once more in that pool,
I see another, that is not me.
We gaze together,
Seeing glimmers of light,
Filtered by the shadowed trees.

What joy, we are not alone!
Other faces, familiar,
In the dark shadows seen.
Yet they come and go,
Momentary flickers of light,
Leaving us, in darkness,
Once more cold, alone.
Oh! Mortal pain, we groan.

Yet in that little, woodland pool
I glimpse some light,
Filtered softly, through the trees.
From whence that light?
Look up, look round,
Look where you do not see.
Above the sea, there sets the sun,
There, like birds, together run.

John Walford, dedicated to all those who struggle, alone,
September, 14, 2008

Saturday, September 13, 2008

"Samsara," by "rapid eye movement"


Samsara, originally uploaded by rapid eye movement.

Rapid eye movement has captured my eye, time and again.
This time with something as simple, yet sublime as two hands conjoined before a mellow wall, calling forth these words:

"Getting Along"

Mellow, yellow light,
Warming the wall,
One hand reaches up,
To grasp one reaching down,
What we all seek,
Assurance, to get along.
--JW, 09/13/08


More of "rapid eye movement's" photographs can be seen @ http://www.flickr.com/photos/rapideyemovement/

Dead Air's "The Flower Getaway"


The Flower Getaway, originally uploaded by Dead Air.

I have followed the work of Dead Air for now some time. Some of his work, using holga multiple exposures, creates a world part tangible, mostly dreamy, that I have come to richly enjoy. Here is but one among his most recent Holga works, inspiring these few lines:

"Ladder among the Brown-Eyed Susans"

I feel the scent of fresh air,
I sense the scent of Dead Air,
Holgaising auntie's flowers,
Thereby given visual powers.
And there amidst, a ladder hides,
Lifting us to more besides.
--JW, 09/13/09

More of Dead Air's work can be seen @ http://www.flickr.com/photos/deadair/

Ophelia's Rose, 2008


Ophelia's Rose, 2008, originally uploaded by johnwalford.

"Ophelia's Rose"

Oh! Melancholy Rose!
Your dried-out petals
Folded, blood red,
Your tender heart
Clasped in prayer.
Drowning in water
Yet still afloat;
Never to reach
Your full bloom.
Cut short your glory,
All too soon,
Leaving us to wonder why.
--JW, 09/13/08

Dedicated to Barbara Anderson, who knows this pain.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

After The Storm, III, 2008


After The Storm, III, 2008, originally uploaded by johnwalford.

September 11th seems like a fitting day for memorial. This lamentation may resonate with those who mourn for those lost that dark day, in 2001.

But it is written with other losses--more immediate to me, and to the Collegiate world I inhabit--and is dedicated to those we lost, to all who mourn them, and to all who yet struggle, for whom hope hangs but like a thread.


"Carried off by Storm"

Carried off by storm,
In a cruel whirlwind,
Three went down,
Almost four.

One far too many,
Two, three, four,
Have mercy!
We can't bear more.

Others cling on,
Like raindrops
After a storm,
Hanging there.

What will become?
Will gravity take its pull?
An evil gravity,
Stealing young lives.

Have mercy! Have mercy!
Our hearts are torn.
Uphold those who cling
Precarious and worn.

Grant faith, and hope,
That last strong bastion,
Of the hopeless heart.
Pour love into heavy, dry souls.

Pour love, refresh our hope,
Pour oil in our bare wounds.
Bind up our pained hearts,
Banish all that us destroys.

Three went down,
Almost four.
No more, no more
We do implore.

-John Walford, 09/11/08,
Dedicated to those we lost,
those who mourn, and to
those who yet struggle.

Matt Huggins, Blue Period Self-Portrait, 2008



"Matt's Maples and Magnolias"

Here sit I, and brood,
Hard core Yankee,
Heated Florida
My wretched lot,
Mourning
Sugar maples,
In full sight
Soon-to-bloom
Magnolias.

While waiting
For one outside
To bloom,
Great consolation!
Blooms always
The one inside --
My June.

Sugar maples
In Fall console,
But bleed and die,
Bare and cold
When winter
Warmth is needed.
No consolation bring.

A blooming magnolia,
Outside or in,
Joy brings, Fall,
Winter, Summer,
And Spring.
Hard core Yankee,
Married to the sun,
Flaming red,
Love’s just begun.

-- E. John Walford,
for Matt and June Huggins,
September 11, 2008

Caballero by Blynka (Barcelona)


Caballero by Blynka (Barcelona), originally uploaded by blynka.

"El Greco's High"

For years, I vainly searched
The grounds for El Greco's
Psychedelic palette
And trembling forms.
This simple fact,
Now I know.
Just this:
He was high
On coke!
--JW, 09/11/08

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Va_Ja, my sisters trail :(((, 2008


my sisters trail :(((, originally uploaded by Va_Ja.

I went to a class today, as a student, once again, to sit and learn, rather than to teach. It is a class about Poetry, Poetics, and the Arts, which Professor David Wright has generously allowed me to audit, so long as I behave! The stimulus of this first class, and the viewing of the work of Va-Ja this evening, pulled this from my excited mind, so here is another for Va_Ja, inspired by his work, "my sisters trail :((("

"Traces of Joy In the Dust"

It was once just a street,
Like any other street,
Until the bride came by,
With shouts of glee,
Smiling faces,
Pounding hearts,
Expectancy......
And then it fell still,
And in the empty
Silence,
There was
Nothing,
But rose petals,
Scattered on
A dusty road.
--JW, 09/02/08

Va_Ja, "at the end of loneliness, shine appear", 2008

A good Flickr friend, Robi Marinkovic, recently introduced me to his friend Va_Ja, whom, I discovered, like Robi, loves to gaze on water, leading me to reflect, especially in light of its title--"at the end of loneliness, shine appear"--as follows:

"Man, Light, and Water"

Light and water,
Each touch our soul.
The water, how it
dances and sparkles!
Light how it
Sparkles and dances!
Water and light,
Light and water.
Seeing these
Together,
Why should
A heart ache?
--JW, 09/02/08

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Croatian Photographer, Robert Marinkovic's "the Play(old)boy", 2008

Croatian Robert Marinkovic's eye and camera misses nothing of life's ironies, as witnessed here, inspiring these amused lines from me:

"Last Memories of August"

Horny old goats,
Those ancient Croats,
Even at the sea--
Where they see
What's to see--
They take
Inky paper
To heighten
Their glee.
Time to chill off
In the cool of the sea,
Before we all see,
What--but for cover--
Might be seen.
---JW, 08/31/08

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

"Alone" by Crazy Ivory


Alone, originally uploaded by Crazy Ivory.

"Crazy Ivory" is a new, young photographer, from Brandenburg, in Germany. His giftedness in manipulating this medium to expressive ends already impresses his peers as being unusual, indeed outstanding. This is but one modest piece, that called forth from me the lines below:

'Alone,.... but not alone"

Where one, plain as I,
Sees but darkness,
A shaft of light,
And a human form,
The imagination of
Crazy Ivo begins to spin;
And a magic web is woven
From a sunbeam,
A searching look,
And pitch blackness.
Such is the rapture
We now all expect,
When Crazy Ivo
Is on the prowl.
--JW, 08/27/08

Monday, August 25, 2008

Flickr's ImaginationAlone, "thought she was dreaming...and then...", 2008



Today was a day full of deep, heart pain. Shortly before going to bed, I saw this exquisite piece in the photostream of Flickr's "Imagination Alone," (see http://www.flickr.com/photos/imaginationalone/2796312907/) inspiring in me, with gratitude, the words written below it:

"Solace in the Dark Night of the Soul"

In solitude,
In darkness,
We struggle
Alone.
Misunderstood,
We feel oppressed;
We are depressed.
We look in front,
Black walls we see.
But from our pit
As we look up,
A breath of warmth,
A shaft of light,
Shines down on us;
Touches our lips,
Burns in our heart,
New life restores!
--JW, 8/25/08

Thank you, "ImaginationAlone," your image, as well as many others in your photostream, which I find stunningly lyrical, and superbly crafted, have brought unexpected joy and solace to my hurting soul.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Late August - Memories of Summer, 2008

"Late August - Memories of Summer"

Late August hangs heavily upon the trees
Sticky substance oiling darkened leaves,
The young ponder the road ahead,
Mothers anticipate their empty bed.

The arc of summer droops in the sky,
From swimsuits, hung out to dry,
Salt water drips, one more time,
And summer clothes sell for a dime.

For family vacations--long-time dreamed--
Only our credit cards now are creamed;
For memories, just snapshots remain,
Which friends all find “such a pain”.

Late August hangs heavily upon the trees,
Nervous teachers, fall to their knees,
Soon the kids will swarm around,
And of summer, what’s left? -- not a sound.

-- John Walford, August 23, 2008

King Gormr made this monument in memory of Thyrvé, his wife, Denmark's salvation

"Marking the Markers of History"

I feel the allure
Of an open door,
Opening on history,
And so much more.
A stone raised up,
A mound beyond,
One woman
Lies below,
Another ,
Poised
Above,
Reaping the heritage
Of the one below.
--JW, 8/23/08
(from the Feelings Not Technique group)

(Andreas: This is a very beautiful work! The light is so well controlled, the shapes and angles intriguing, and the opened/closed aspects alluring.
Bravo! Bravo! Bravo!)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Yellow Fog on the Window Panes, 2008 (Inspired by T.S. Eliot's "Prufrock and Other Observations," 1917

"Yellow Fog on the Window Panes, 2008 (Inspired by T.S. Eliot's "Prufrock and Other Observations," 1917)"

".........................................
In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.

The yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window-panes,
The yellow smoke that rubs its muzzle on the window-panes
Licked its tongue into the corners of the evening,
........................
Curled once about the house, and fell asleep.

And indeed there will be time
For the yellow smoke that slides along the street,
Rubbing its back upon the window-panes;
There will be time, there will be time
To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;
..........................................

It is impossible to say just what I mean!
But as if a magic lantern threw the nerves in patterns on a screen:
Would it have been worth while
If one, settling a pillow or throwing off a shawl,
And turning toward the window, should say:
"That is not it at all,
That is not what I meant, at all."
.................................................................

I grow old... I grow old...
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled."

--Excerpts from T.S. Eliot's "Prufrock and Other Observations," 1917.

--"That is, if I am able to wear them at all." - An addendum by JW

"Signs of life, flicker before my eyes,
Life itself - pregnant with surprise."
- JW, 08/21/08

This piece was made in response to a challenge from my good Flickr friend, "Algo," (Alex, of The Chiltern Hills, England), to make a triptych based on excerpts from this poem of T.S. Eliot, whose style he (and others) had compared to the suggestive, yet allusive nature of some of my triptychs. This piece, accordingly, is dedicated to him, with an enormous debt of gratitude for the extreme beauty and serenity of so many photographs that he has shared with us all, see: www.flickr.com/photos/algo/

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Every Day Ends...


every day ends..., originally uploaded by Crazy Ivory.

"Crazy Ivory" has only been taking serious photographs, and posting them to Flickr, for a few months, yet he already displays a fresh and notable talent.

This piece--not even one of his best--inspired me, however, to write the following lines:

'Every Day Ends"

Every day ends;
Night begins.
Work lies behind,
What remains,
Lies within.

Every day ends,
What did it hold?
What regrets
Carried
Into the night?

We look back
And wonder,
How it might have been..
Never will the moment
Offer itself again.

As sure as the sun sets,
It will raise again.
Tomorrow, wiser,
For reflecting
On each passing day.

Sit on your hillock,
Gaze into the sky.
Seize the moment
To realize afresh,
Each must "Carpe diem!"
--JW, for Ivo, 08/07/08

iDexterity, 2008.JPG


iDexterity, 2008.JPG, originally uploaded by johnwalford.

"iDexterity: For Dave, With Thanks"

When networks sputter,
Dave's always there,
Ready to fix,
And search a repair.
Long into the night,
With software will fight,
Until his old friend,
Is freed from his plight.
--JW, 08/06/08.

Mike, A Man of Passion, 2008.JPG

"Mike, A Man of Passion"

Mike, a man of passion,
Inspires compassion;
A man like me,
Profoundly flawed;
A man like me,
Who yet loves His Lord.
--JW, 08/06/08.

Dappled Light, 2008.JPG


Dappled Light, 2008.JPG, originally uploaded by johnwalford.

"Dappled Light: Nothing Much"

Dappled light - nothing much!
But after each sleepless night,
There's enough in that light,
And in the play of foliage,
Branch, bark, and sky,
A person sees on what to rely.
So shake off all fears,
And trust, as appears,
The world spins on orbit;
So press on - alert and fit.
--JW, 08/07/08

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Wildflowers Dance in the Morning Sunlight, July 2008.JPG

Wildflowers dance
In the morning sunlight.
No one called them forth;
They chose their spot,
And there dropped seed,
Sprouting, to beckon me forth,
To start, once more, my day.
But days thereafter,
Smashed by storm-struck tree,
Crushed flowers let me see,
How vital, always, to "Carpe diem."
--JW, 8/02/08, last four lines added, 08/07/08

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

"black light" by dou_ble_you


black light, originally uploaded by dou_ble_you.

"Behind the Shades"

You know, cool gal,
You better watch out.
When you street-walk
In black, with baubles,
And red lips like those.
Them plastic bollards,
Ain't there for nothin'.
Just step around,
Into UU's lens,
Worse could happen,
What did you intend?

--JW, 7/30/08

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

"da_N_gerous," by dou_ble_you


da_N_gerous, originally uploaded by dou_ble_you.

"dou_ble_you gets to work on Man Ray ..and things get dan_N_gerous"

When Ingres passed away,
And Man Ray turned his back,
Surrealists you'd think,
Would be cut some slack.
Not so, it turns out,
While UU's about,
Mischief can brew,
Faster than stew.
What's "daNgerous"
Who knows?
But stay on your toes,
When young kids go to war,
There's a whole lot more,
Than dragging on a fag,
When time does so lag.
Kids desires, like us all,
Slip into dreamy haze.
On serpentine curves,
They love butt to gaze,
And pluck the violin,
That lies buried within.

--JW, 7/29/08, for dou_ble_you, with much appreciation for his creative mind, constant encouragement, and many good laughs!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Rosa Cobos's "Pietá"....Flesh&Spirit, 2008

Rosa Cobos is a poet of the soul, who makes moving art, writes lyrical poems, and enriches our lives with her gifts. I was particularly moved by this piece of hers, seen today on Flickr, and was drawn to write:

"Rosa Cobos's "Pietá"....Flesh & Spirit, 2008"

I feel drawn in to the greatest drama of all history,
Re-enacted once again, and re-interpreted
Through a fertile mind, imagination, and well-used lens
For our no-less-needy times.
Rosa Cobos's powerful image,
And accompanying text, have the power
To turn our thoughts away from the hum-drum activities
Of our mundane existence,
To ponder again the essence of the human condition:
Its brokenness and tragedy, our longing for deliverance,
And the presence of a divine mediator --
One whom--at least for the believer--is proclaimed
The Savior of humankind-- no less!
I feel grateful for the fresh reminder
--So visually powerful and moving--
Of all that is on offer, too much scorned, too much ignored!
To be received--humbly and gratefully,
By the trembling, broken, longing, pained,
But believing human heart,
That pounds within my breast.
--John Walford, July 22, 2008

(from the Feelings Not Technique group, on Flickr)

Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Follies of Facebook, July 2008



***Please click on the image to enlarge and render legible***

I have enjoyed tremendously reconnecting on Facebook with old friends and former students, some from more than twenty years ago, even with a childhood friend of my eldest son from thirty years ago, living in England. It is so interesting to see how people's lives unfold, what they do, and whom they become.

Yet Facebook is also an outlet for play, fun, and jest, which, while an admitted time-waster, is surely a respite from the incredible pressure of life in today's fast paced world.

Posted above is the culmination of one such exchange, which, preceding this piece of folly, had also its far more substantial elements. But this particular exchange illustrates the electronic, Internet, play dimension, in both what people say about themselves, and how others--such as myself--respond to such inanities.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Rosa Cobos, "Between Spirit & Passion", July 2008.

Dedicated to ericutxo / Rosa Cobos:

Rosa Cobos is a poet of the human soul.

She writes complex and moving poems about the works of others, to which I too have been treated. Here is a modest return gift to her, written in response to a piece of hers that speaks well of her intensity of feeling:

ericutxo / Rosa Cobos Thank you for two recent and most beautiful poems on my works. I do treasure them!

As for this piece, it evokes much for me, as it seems to for others too:

"Torn Souls"

What are we frail mortals,
Feeling so deeply,
Longing so intensely,
Fighting internally
Between wit and
Driving emotion?
Sometimes I think,
It would have been easier,
To be a cow--or a bull--
Grazing pasture,
Tended for by others,
Needing only to yield
My milk, or sperm,
Otherwise, in tranquility,
Chewing my cud.

__JW, 7/16/08.

Seen first on Flickr, in the Feelings Not Technique group.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Apollo, by Day and by Night, 2008

Apollo Wheatonium

Oh art lover, how you've been fooled
By long tradition, this indeed is true.
Dreamers and artists have cast their eyes
Judging its vibrant forms to win the prize,
And think Olympian of some marble stone
Carved to gorge the eyes of some Greek drone.

Now can't you see, some lurid Pope,
Set this chiseled stone in his belvedere
To gorge his eyes, on mere bland balls.
On which tourists now luridly stare,
And tour guides once again blurt out,
There the splendid Apollo Belvedere!

But come to Wheaton, Illinois,
Where in the early hours of dawn,
She sees not some faint shadow,
Of an indolent Greek's bare desire,
But one so fine, she says, Oh woooh!
One warmer than stone-cold Apollo!

--JW, July 15, 2008

Friday, July 11, 2008

Boy - (Dream of Tomorrow)


boy, originally uploaded by goodsardine.clean.

My Flickr friend--goodsardine.clean--offers us another glimpse of her boy at a window. We have all been that boy, each by our own window. These words are for him:

"Boy -Dream of Tomorrow"

Young lad, yes the world is waiting.
What will it bring you today?
What will you give it, tomorrow?
Each has a gift to bring,
Each their own song to sing.
Sing yours! Sing yours!
Yes, sing! Our ears await.
--John Walford, July 11, 2008

Pumpkin: Me and My Cat


pumpkin, originally uploaded by goodsardine.clean.

My Flickr friend, goodsardine.clean--through her many photos of him-- shares with us much about her son. This work, in particular moved me to write, as follows:

"My Cat"

My cat,
I tell you everything,
Though no words
Go between us.
My cat is there,
But takes no notice,
When I want to share.
One day,
There will be
Someone to tell,
And they'll need ears,
To hear, a heart
To receive,
All that lies,
Buried,
In my tender
Soul.
My cat,
Why don't you
Reply to me?
Why don't you?
Why? See my need!
Why, furry friend?
Why, friend,
Not even to me?
--JW, 7/11/08

What is time?


what is time?, originally uploaded by Eddi 07.

Flickr's Eddi_07 gives us this to ponder on for today, which in turn provokes my own little meditation of this discrete unit of time, today:

"Time, So Present, Yet So Elusive"

Time, plus oxygen, plus food, and space,
Then, theoretically, the world is our oyster.
Time precious gift, ever squandered.
Oh Time! When will I learn to treat you well?
When will my hours count as they should?
Oh Time! Why is there no returning?
--John Walford, 7/11/2008

Thursday, July 10, 2008

ready steady...GO!

The work and photography of Robi Marinkovic, "Idea_Listic" has moved and inspired me for now more than a year. This work, "Ready Steady...GO!", posted to Flickr 8 July 2008, speaks to the core of what I have perceived of his inner poesie.

I am moved by it to write the following lines, which I dedicate to my good Flickr friend, Robi:

"Ever on the Brink"

Water, what will you do to me?
What will I find down in there?
My dog, do not leave me,
I'd be lonely, without you.

Adulthood, what will you do to me?
What will I find out there?
Childhood, do not leave me,
I'd be lonely, without your comforts.

Maturity, what is life doing to me,
Is this what I had hoped for?
Courage, do not leave me,
I'd be at wits end, without you.

Old age, what has life done to me?
Never thought it would be this way.
Mellowness, how you embrace me,
How rich and full was the journey!

And now, eternity, I face you,
How did my life prepare me?
Love and Hope, they sustain me,
And Faith, please, never leave me.

--John Walford, for Robi Marinkovic, Summer 2008.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Tall Grass in The Sunset


Tall Grass in The Sunset, originally uploaded by Maggie-Me.

This work, "Tall Grass in The Sunset," was uploaded to Flickr, by "Maggie_Me" on 5 July, 2008, accompanied by an excerpt of a poem from Ralph Waldo Emmerson (attributed), see: http://www.flickr.com/photos/maggie-me/2639103085/

Its warm, mellow color, rhythms, and beauty in turn evokes in me the following words:

Carpe Diem:

We know it will pass,
So seize the day!
For as the sun drops low,
Behind swaying grasses,
Burnishing them
Red, brown and gold,
Man and beast
Cease from their labors,
Turn for home, their
Minds on food and rest,
In an endless cycle,
As was long foretold.
--JW, Independence Day Weekend, 7/6/2008

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

So Many Signs, So Little Direction, 2008

So Many Signs, So Little Direction, 2008
So Many Signs, So Little Direction, 2008, originally uploaded by johnwalford.

This triptych was suggested to me by Jonathan Paul Larson, and is gratefully dedicated to him, on the occasion of his wedding, May 17, 2008. See his comment on the original center photograph: www.flickr.com/photos/walford/2172991301/, and for his photostream, see: www.flickr.com/photos/jonathanlarson/ , and note especially his beautiful B&W ice set: www.flickr.com/photos/jonathanlarson/sets/72157600886090726/

So Many Signs, So Little Direction

Revolving doors,
Sucking people
In off the street,
And spitting others
Back out again,
Into the cold.

Electronic elevators,
Raising some up,
Taking others
Back down.
Up or down-
It's just the same.

Ever busy:
Going up and down;
In and out;
Always on the go.
Going nowhere,
In such a hurry.

More self-help books,
Than ways to turn;
More recliner chairs,
Than time to recline;
More clothes to wear,
Than closet space.

Always more;
Never satisfied.
Human hunger
Knows no respite.
Seeking, grasping,
Rarely reflecting.

Why reflect?
It might be scary!
What's in my head
Is all quite airy.
Did we forget,
Think first, then act.

-- John Walford, January 9th, 2008.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Hope Sprouts Eternal, 2008


Hope Sprouts Eternal, 2008, originally uploaded by johnwalford.

Dedicated to the Memory of John Fawcett, Head of Collection Development, Buswell Library, Wheaton College, Illinois. A man of great soul, mighty laughter, profound depth of faith, a counselor of others, a musician, and, in his long battle with cancer, an inspiration and amazement to us all.

"Hope Sprouts Eternal"

When living,
Never short of words,
Neither you, nor I.
We laughed together,
But I never sent you
Library Choice cards.
We lunched and laughed,
Debated, and shared,
And you waited for cards--
Long past overdue--
Buried on my cluttered desk,
Neither ever short of words.

Now departed,
I have no words,
None adequate
To capture you.
No words to say
How much inspired.
No way to say
How much admired.
How can I say,
What fortitude,
What faith, what
Courage too!

In doing battle
With our last foe,
What did you show,
Amidst such woe?
But to trust and know
Hope sprouts eternal.
This was enough,
More than enough,
And was said
With few words.
Actions carried them
Half way round the world.

--John Walford, May 29, 2008

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Memorial Day Lament, 2008


An_Illusive_Freedom_2007, originally uploaded by johnwalford.

Memorial Day Lament, 2008

Four thousand US troops, plus some,
Each died in his or her own way.
For each, it was just another day,
Waking up to heat and sand.
It was Iraq, could be Iran;
Then again, Afghanistan.

For each, it was just one more day,
The way they knew to get their pay.
Some driven by desire to serve;
Some, indifferent, needing a meal,
And rescue from the city street,
Not knowing they, their end would meet.

Four thousand with a mom somewhere;
Some never knew their deadbeat dad,
And now, will never know their children.
All once kicked the dirt somewhere,
On dusty playgrounds, in US schools,
And wound up one day on boot camp rules.

Why did they enlist? Each their own tale,
Some dreams of glory, some needing ale.
But mostly, mom said, “look boy,
You got’ya get your self a job,
For I ain’t feedin’ ya no more.”
Now sobs that sonny boy’s no more.

--John Walford, Memorial Day, 2008

Monday, May 26, 2008

Ominous


Ominous, originally uploaded by beau-foto.

Yesterday, Flickr's "beau-foto" uploaded this skyscape, "Ominous." I suspect the timing was not coincidental. And so I add to it these lines:

Memorial Day, 2008

Memorial Day 2008!
Memories of what?
War, courage, and hate.
Those who fought,
I them salute,
Those who did not,
Mostly, don't give a toot.
--And that's too bad!

"Ominous" what omens
Clouds and sun-beams
Brings down below?
Those who fought, they know!
Those who didn't, don't know,
But we all hope:
Memorial Day, 2008
Please, George, end the hate.
--JW, 5/26/2008

The Fate of a Mouse, or, ...Where Angels Fear To Tread, 2008

The Fate of the Mouse, or,
…Where Angels Fear To Tread, 2008

Listen now, "Mush" Bush
I’m hopping mad,
Four thousand down,
And that’s just our lads.
What about the injured--
Lives never be the same.
What about civilians--
Ordinary mums and dads,
And all the little children
Burnt by bombs?

You thought Saddam
Just a sitting duck.
All those weapons?
You were out of luck.
Of fat oil revenues, did
You and Cheney dream,
Instead our economy,
You simply did cream.
As for the terrorists--
Played into their hand.

What now of America,
Its credibility lost.
Pariah of the world,
And years of good will
Poured down the drain.
Why create such global pain?
Bush and Cheney
In history will go down
One as a schemer,
The other as a clown.
--John Walford, 4/4/2008

4000 Fallen, Salvaging George's "Working Pump," Iraq, April 2008


4000 Fallen, Salvaging George's "Working Pump," Iraq, April 2008

Please note: It can be printed, for public display, on request, at cost, up to 60" x 33.23", or, for best resolution, 48" x 26".

Left center image, front page, Chicago Tribune, 4/11/2008; right image, detail from the memorial to each individual American soldier killed in the Iraq War, thus far; background: larger details of same, from St. James Episcopal Cathedral, Chicago, 4/12/2008.

Oh! By George!
Can't you see
How delusional
You can be?

Letting people die,
To save your face,
Now truly that is,
A major disgrace.
--JW, 4/12/2008

Just When I Think I See, Dec. 2007


I wrote this on December 6th, 2007, a day when the doctors did not expect my friend and colleague, John Fawcett, to survive the night.
In his great fortitude, defying all medical expectation, he has since celebrated Christmas, Easter, and Pentecost, and been to church most Sundays in between, even if barely able to move, at times.

He has stopped treatment for his cancer, and has already doubled expectations of survival, in that condition. Meanwhile he has inspired so many of us with his courage and fortitude, and his wife, Margie, with her outward serenity, amid the inward turmoil from their joint journey through very dark valleys.

It seems time to post this, which now hangs, framed, in their home.

"Just When I Think To See"

Just when I think I see,
Cloud covers the sun,
And chill sets over my world.
Moisture collects on the window,
Like those endless drops of sadness:
One student with forty stitches in
Her once bright young face.

Another whose dad reaches
Too much for the bottle.
Another friend, doing battle
With a brain tumor,
Losing ground, and
Watched by two small
Children, and his wife.

Tears stream down, inside,
Like water droplets on my window.
Yet, deep down, under the cloud,
Buried under the snow,
Crocuses ready themselves,
And arm for early Spring,
When once more light
Will flood the world.

-- John Walford, December 6, 2007,
for John and Margie Fawcett, and their two young children,
Charlotte and Josiah.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Shadows Fall on Eden, 2008

Shadows Fall on Eden, 1508-2008

Five hundred long years ago,
Did sculptor Michelangelo,
Bend to the Pope's demand,
And paint a ceiling to command.

Cracked and dirty, it did become,
Like all things finite, less than pristine.
Yet for it famous the Chapel Sistine,
From tens of thousands, admiration won.

While Japanese paid to have it cleaned,
Here still smoke-stained, caught my eye.
When Eve and Adam the apple gleaned,
Death and decay followed close by.

Even their clothes the moths did sunder,
Much as winter chill these leaves did shred.
Exposing all that lay there under,
Never again to lie at peace in bed.

The globe itself, like this silver sphere,
Lost its pure sheen, and wrinkled became,
Prone to pollutants in the stratosphere,
Yet each day the moon does wax and wane.

And so our world, rent, weary and worn,
By gusts and tremors, spouts and heaves,
Droughts and floods, cyclones and storm,
And peoples everywhere, scattered like leaves.
--John Walford, 5/25/2008

Saturday, May 24, 2008

true2source's "Communion"



Uploaded to Flickr on April 9, 2008 by true2source, see: http://www.flickr.com/photos/84327574@N00/2402163064/

Flickr's Maurice Flower (Hans) drew my attention to this beautiful work. Thank you Hans. I am glad to have seen it, as it is truly poetic, with the fusion of nature and culture.

Thanks, true2source, for your inspiring work, seen while just browsing your photostream, after seeing this piece, and inspiring me to write:

For true2source, in honor of "Communion"

Diana, goddess of the chase,
Blue moonlight caressing
Your visage fair!
How long, and still you watched
Your hounds; until Nature
Its embrace around you clad
With moss and ivy, in accord,
Finding home with you.
---John Walford, 5/24/08

Fantasy stimulating view


Fantasy stimulating view, originally uploaded by maurice flower.

Hans "Maurice Flower" leads us here through part of the Nationalstadsparken, also called Ekoparken, of Stockholm and Solna in Sweden (see his notes below the original posting of this work on Flickr, 23 May 2008).

Viewing this late on a sleepless night, I reflected as follows:

For Hans, on his "Fantasy Stimulating View"

I wander down a shady path,
Along the verdant forest edge.
Sunlight in open, grassy fields,
Beckons me, for in such
Protected, open space
I take my soul's delight.

Come friend, and wander here,
Your toil and cares forget!
B sure, before you leave,
To draw in its strength,
For when, at last, you turn
And face your weary toil.

Go home not sad,
But much renewed,
Like verdant grass
So richly dewed,
Strength for each day,
Each dawn does bring.

Walk here, and hear
The songbird sing.
When home, it will
In ear still joyful ring.
Your eyes when closed,
This fantasy again will bring.

--John Walford, 3.00am, 5/24/2008,
faint testimony to a sleepless night!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Sati K's Afraid


Afraid, originally uploaded by Sati K..

I was deeply moved by Sati K's truly exceptional, powerful work, powerful in both form and content, which was first uploaded to Flickr by Sati K. on 17 May 08. So I wrote as follows:

Sati's Anxious Monster:

Restless I lay,
Dreaming fearfully,
Of a presence
Dark and heavy:

Behind some bars,
A sinister being,
Helmeted and armed,
In deep shadows lurked.

Facing sideway,
Had he seen me?
I could yet flee,
But where?

Trapped in sleep,
Plunged in darkness,
Nowhere to go,
But back through
Sati's lens.
--JW, 5/18/2008

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Algo's Incredible Blue of Twilight, May 2008



Algo's photograph, originally uploaded to Flickr, May 9, 2008, see: http://www.flickr.com/photos/algo/2477591899/ reminds me of the woodlands of my English childhood, but bluer than my memories, and more beautiful than I could imagine.

In response, I write:

More blue the land than the gray sky.
This does my simple mind defy.
I thought soil brown, offsetting sky,
Yet bluebells here outshine the sky,
And all of nature's laws defy.
- for Algo, from JW, 5/11/08,
with thanks for your many visits to my photos.

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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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