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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Monday, January 14, 2008

Rongzoni / Helen Ojha's "Morning Dance...," January 14, 2008

Morning dance..., originally uploaded by Rongzoni.

Generously inscribed by Helen Ojha / Rongzoni: "For my friends John and Maria, for whom the dance of trees is a dance of life." (See her original post to Flickr: It has been Helen's photographs, taken all around Ring Mountain, California, often at dawn or dusk, and the voice that she gives to trees, rocks, grasses, and skies, in both image and poetry, that has inspired me to think along parallel tracks. It has led to my own attempts to give photographic life and voice to the most ordinary of elements that I encounter each day, around me--albeit in a setting far less evocative than she has so consistently, creatively, and sensitively, brought before our eyes and minds. For her inspiring example, I am indebted, and deeply grateful--for indeed, thereby, my life and practice has been enriched.

In response, I dedicate these few lines to Helen, as she prepares to leave her beloved Ring Mountain, in California, and knowing that we share the whisper of the trees:

Morning Dance…

Long lingers night, heavy upon the earth,
Darkness yet denser as the time draws on.
Man and beast cower from the night,
Anything that stirs, to them gives fright.

Deep shadows cover the track of fox and wolf,
Game birds, in peril, tremble in the dark.
Under the bank, the rabbit burrows deep.
Wolf pounces on innocent sheep.

Atop a bank, trees and bushes stand,
Waiting out the night, in shadows bland.
Night owls may see them, but not we,
Our eyes are shut, or opened, can’t see.

Patiently, this shadowed world, it waits,
Waits as the earth on its axis turns.
As darkness invades across the shores,
Dawn’s first glimmers open up before.

Wolves and foxes, slink satisfied away,
Also the night owl, devours its prey.
The rabbit ventures forth, onto fresh dew,
The trees, we now see, dance for us, and you.

-- To Helen, of Ring Mountain, strong of soul, from John & Maria Walford, with our gratitude, and best wishes, January 14, 2008


  1. Your words seem to flow from your fingertips like melting snow. I am so gladdened to know that my discoveries of my mountain have touched you and Maria so as I have also been touched by your writings and your photostream as a world of expression that lights up a whole new way of going at the world. And I am amazed at the sensitivity with which you express the walk on my mountain as if you had actually been there -- it is so close to how it feels -- just wonderful -- ah, it brings smiles that last long. I a honored deeply by your dedication. Thank you and deep bows to you.

  2. Helen: Your words are much too generous, but happily received. They bring a smile to my eyes and joy to my heart. Thank you,also from Maria, who has also shared in your mountain, if to a lesser degree. - John.


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John Walford

John Walford
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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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