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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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

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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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