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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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

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John Walford

John Walford
Not All That Meets The Eye

About Me

My photo
United States
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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