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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Wednesday, February 4, 2009


Echouement, originally uploaded by PPL 2A.

How could the eye and the mind not be arrested by the poignant juxtaposition seen in Flickr's "PPL_2A's photograph, "Echouement," which called forth these lines from me:

"Echouement" - Run aground

Once a grove of vibrant trees
Felled to deck a sleek, long boat,
Crafted lovingly, launched proudly.
Once she lilted over the waves,
With a grace and ease
That delighted the eye,
And brought joy,
To the sailor's heart.
Now this wood-planked shell
--twice dead, rusted iron,
Once pristine, wood--
Once sustained by Spring sap,
Lies inert, useless,
Unloved, abandoned,
Like a jilted lover,
Wasting away,
In full light of day,
Not even quite alone.
Passing it daily,
The inhabitants
Of the near-by
Comfortable in their
Bourgeois boxes--
They never stop to think,
Their concrete box,
It too will crumble,
And slip into the sea,
While another plane
Flies by, overhead,
On its way nowhere,
In total disregard.
--JW, Feb 4, 2009.


  1. We tossed the compass, our final bit of ballast, over the rail long ago. Left the rudder to flap in the current. Now shoals of concrete loom behind the rotting, beached hull.

  2. And what will become of the hulls of our lives?


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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, 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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