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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Monday, July 27, 2009

Rita Crane's Window to the Mediterranean, Hanley Gardens, Italy

"Eyes Transfixed"

Dumbstruck, eyes transfixed,
Unable to deflect my gaze.
Tears well behind my eyeballs,
Tears conjured by a heady mix
Of sight and memory, even smell!
Warm rays of Mediterranean sun,
Trellises, sandstone arches,
Edged by light, a cypress tree,
Such as stirred the troubled soul,
Of Vincent, painter,
Lonely in sun-drenched Arles.
And beyond! Ah! beyond:
Azure waters, barely touched
By movement, sharing with
Softer, azure sky, a space,
So wondrous, ineffable,
Free from care, expansive,
Beckoning the tired soul,
Here to find, to find what?
Some fleeting solace,
Maybe recover hope.
--JW, for Rita Crane, 7/27/09,
in thanks for this wondrous
gift of stone and sunlight --
Mediterranean style.

Note: Where first posted, on Flickr, as uploaded by Rita Crane on July 25, 2009, she notes as follows: "This garden is just above Ventimiglia, across the border from Menton, France, just inside the Italian border. In winter, hardly anyone is there, and it is a wonderful place to relax and enjoy the extensive gardens."

Who Would Have Thought? (or "Measuring Up"), 2008

Since I am partly Greek, I have spent my married life, in jest, trying to convince my Italian wife that--whether she realize it or not--she is married to the closest thing on earth to Apollo that any mere mortal could be!!!! Of course, for 35 years, she has just rolled her eyes dismissively. But I still try to convince her! - And this was one last attempt, in producing the photographic evidence, from childhood -- with Apollo at least as my nurturing spirit! This last-ditch attempt has been the only one that ever got close to convincing her! :-)

Today, for someone else, I wrote about their childhood reflections in a quasi-Haiku form, and then thought that these words also spoke to an aspect of this image of mine, made last year:

"Childhood, a dream,
from which, on waking,
we never recover." - JW, for Robi, 7/267/09

3 lines, 10 words, 15 syllables.

[For the exchange with Robi, See his Facebook page, post for July 22, 2009]

Thursday, July 23, 2009

CARF's "c o n n e c t e d . . .," 11 July 2009 (Photo: via Flickr, copyright of Children At Risk Foundation – CARF (

c o n n e c t e d . . ., originally uploaded by carf.

Eyes Vigilant Beyond Their Years.

Eyes vigilant, beyond their years,
Always on the look-out.
Looking out for what?
Survival - bare survival.

Who is that boy in the multi-colored stencil?
The same, we are told, as he in the single-color!
Yes, but he is some broken mother's son,
A child at risk. By now he may be "was,"

-- Like Claudiney, and his brother Roney.

Brazilian boys, street kids of Sao Paulo,
Equal to our boys, in every way,
Except for love, care, and protection,
For who is there to give it?

To give even the merest protection,
From the predators of death,
That roam the streets, looking,
For one, for some, to destroy.

May our sorrow rise to anger,
Our anger stir our conscience,
And our conscience drive our wills,
To reach out, with CARF, and others.

Others, as "compassionate Thomas,"
Who Smoaks the streets in search
Of boys to save from prostitution,
Drugs, and the cruel hand of early death.

--JW, dedicated to all those at CARF, Brazil,
who are doing what we fail to do;
and also, more personally,
to my compassionate friend,
Thomas Smoak,
who reaches out his hand
to just such boys.
May God bless all of you
in your efforts, 7/23/09,

Monday, July 20, 2009

Boccacino"s AU MUSEE (15 Sept 2007)

AU MUSEE, originally uploaded by Boccacino.

The weekday work was over,
Her cell phone turned on,
Waiting for a call. He called.
Shall we meet at the museum,
Tomorrow? Let's check out
The Modern section!
Oh! Those cool, spare grays,
And those few, juicy, brush strokes,
Pink, purple, yellow, strident green!
Don't you love them? Well, yes,
But my sack is heavy to lug around.
What you got in yours? Shall we,
Shall we just go back to my place?

--JW, 7/20/09, for Flickr's "Boccacino,"
whose photographs have guided me,
to search out the dynamic interplay
of geometric and organic forms,
in a photographic language
fitting to our times and places--
a visual dynamic so well seen
in this piece of his, "Au Musee."

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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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