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, 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

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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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