The Blog of John Walford, British-born, but long resident in The United States. I am a retired art historian, an amateur photographer, and occasional writer, who writes here about art, photography, and the human condition--some of it attempted 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, March 31, 2008

And Then There Was Penelope, 2008

Some of you have been following the extraordinary odyssey of my friend, John Fawcett, as he has fought back against ravaging cancer for now a long time. Once more, over Easter week, he seemed to go right to the brink, lose the capacity to form sentences, and then awoke on Easter morning as lucid and feisty as ever.

Not only is this man one terrific fighter, with a courage that puts a lesser mortal, such as me, to shame, but what of his wife Margie?

With two small children, and a husband who takes us all on such a roller coaster, and simply refuses to give in to the enemy that eats his mortal flesh, and who must keep her family going, where does she find her strength, resilience, and courage to fend off her own fears and despair, and sustain a balanced environment for her children?

As I think of these two, John and Margie, my thoughts turned to an ancient and famous epic tale, that of Odysseus, and, in so doing, I considered, in a new light, the under-sung heroine of that story, his wife Penelope. Hence these few lines and accompanying image: "And Then There Was Penelope...."

To their modern counterparts--and to all such who inspire us with their fortitude--these words and images are thankfully dedicated.

(To view the image and text larger, please follow the link under the photograph, and then choose "all sizes" and then "large.")


  1. Dear John,
    Thank you for this gracious bow to my own battle with John's cancer. I have done as any woman would do bound to her Lord and her husband. I hope to post this on my blog in the next few days.
    With gratitude,

  2. Margie:

    You may have done as any woman would try to do, but you have done it with fortitude, and a noble courage, which draws my wonder, for I know the great drain on stamina--emotional, physical, spiritual, and psychological. There needs be those whose call it is also to care for you...I trust you are so upheld.

    In prayer for you all,


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John Walford

John Walford
Not All That Meets The Eye

About Me

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United States
I am a British-born, retired art historian, who taught 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. 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 twelve 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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