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, September 21, 2009

Flickr's Barry Lu 陸維陽, "Rusted 6"


Rusted 6, originally uploaded by Barry Lu 陸維陽.

"Six on Blue"

A faded number,
Yellow on blue -
Like age, so true.
--JW, September 21, 2209

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Flickr's Wintercove's "Kindred Spirits"



Wintercove uploaded this lovely, serene photograph to Flickr, September 18, 2009, see: http://www.flickr.com/photos/65687061@N00/3932080654/

The rhythms of this photograph possess an inexpressible poetry - at least, I cannot find the words, but perhaps something like this:

'Kindred Spirits"

Puffy clouds drifting from left to right,
Deep shadows, and soft water
Likewise lead the eye.
All seems still.
But stillness truth
Disguises, even as
Jagged icebergs, shrunken,
Wonder which way to go,
But downward sink, to rejoin
That from whence they came.

Foreground grasses,
Wafted by the breeze,
Lean against these forces,
Yet are subject to the same,
Once fresh, supple, ripe,
And green - now brown,
And aged by the summer sun,
Stiffer, dryer, like our old bones,
And our skin, wrinkled,
Lacking oil, they too decline.

-- JW, for Wintercove, Sept 20, 2009,
after a long hiatus. Glad to see you are
still there, watching, as God performs His
glorious dance, daily before your eyes.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Flickr's AndreasC's "Outside in the Distance"


Outside in the Distance, originally uploaded by AndreasC.

Rural Italy, invaded by tourists, yet still
Keeping her ancient beauty.
A patchwork of fields, golden and green,
Secluded under the protection
Of unyielding, granite hills,
With wild boar lurking in the woodland.

Sunlight, warming the mellow stone,
Causing the ridges of the clay tiles,
Hosts for lichens, to glitter in the light,
Which beats down on my shoulders,
In the absent imagination. Oh! Italia,
Refuge of the sensitive soul.

---JW, for AndreasC, Spetember 18, 2009.


Time..... by Flickr's Tina Manthorpe


Time......, originally uploaded by tina_manthorpe.

The Nature of Time?

Does time spiral?
Stand still?
Or run in circles?
First making,
Then eating,
Its own children,
As can be seen,
On tops of any old
Fencing post.
--JW, for Tina, 09/18/09

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Culprit (Albert Einstein, Time is the Culprit), 09-09-09, with thanks to Semay Johnston

The Culprit (Albert Einstein, Time is the Culprit), 09-09-09, with thanks to Semay Johnston
The Culprit (Albert Einstein, Time is the Culprit), 09-09-09, with thanks to Semay Johnston, originally uploaded by johnwalford


Nine o’ Nine: “Time is the Culprit” (Albert Einstein)



Nine o’ Nine, on Nine, Nine, o’ Nine – Oh Wow!

This, an auspicious time, on anyone’s dime!

What to make of life - existence in time?

How possibly can time more signify?

Ours, yours, his, hers, or mine?

Is time but a construct?

Reckoned on a dial?

Or, a mere friction

Derived from only

Sands pressure

Sliding down

Glass?



Glass!

As time itself -

So lucidly transparent!

Yet, glass and time remain

Both cruelly enigmatic and still

Beyond best scrutiny. They reveal,

And yet, their enduring qualities hide.

One seemingly passable, transparent,

Yet impenetrable to touch, but not to light.

The other, invisible, intangible, yet palpable!

While reflecting on time, it runs through my fingers,

Like sand, slip-sliding to the constant rhythm of the sea.



--John Walford, a meditation on Semay Johnston’s ceramic piece,

“The Culprit” (after Albert Einstein’s “Time is the Culprit”)

at nine o’clock, in the evening, of 09/09/09,

and, with thanks to Lauren Anderson,

for timely inspiration.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Spanish Balconies, 2009 (with Deborah Walford Danbom)

How it captures our imaginations,
That little space up there,
Above the street, above our heads,
A place, private and public both.

From this floating little ledge,
The passing world, we can engage.
To passers by, we show our selves,
And then retreat to private realms.

We display, we hide, we hover,
Somewhere in between, seduction,
There, but not there, seen but secluded,
Engaging others on our own terms.

For those shut in, a small way out,
For those shut out, a small way in.
A threshold in the air, and yet,
A threshold none directly cross.
--JW, Labor Day, Sept 7, 2009,
a day for idling on a balcony.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Whence Hope? (Photo: Mercury in the Night Sky, 2005)


Mercury_in_the_Night_Sky_05, originally uploaded by johnwalford.



Whence Hope? (For David M.)

Curled up, fetal, in my warm bed,
Cars rumble by, headed somewhere.
Cruel awakening, sleep’s last defense,
My destination, yet undefined.

For what shall I leave this warmth?
Why enter the next day’s chill?
Who travels by my side, who smiles
Into my sad, lonely eyes? Who?

Who sustains on the inside?
Whence hope? Cruel fate that
Strips me of family and friends.
What motivation to do this or that?

Yes, I could do this, or that!
But why bother? Should I?
Why should I? Who says?
What end to toil and struggle?

None can reply, anguish to assuage,
Yet, One, of old did say, “I know
The plans I have for you,
To give you a future, and a hope.”
---- JW, for David, Sept 5, 2009.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Seasonal Auguries IV, 2009


Seasonal Auguries IV, 2009, originally uploaded by johnwalford.

Two Nests - Two Dramas

Two little birds build with woven twigs;
Hornets galore chew wood into pulp.
Each to have a home, to call their own.
Why birds deserted, leaving one egg?
Why fly entered, never to escape?
What to learn from each one's drama?
--JW, Sept 3, 2009.

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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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