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, December 21, 2009

Together, Walking The Narrow Path



Photo: Courtesy of Matt & Rachel's Vanderpoel's blog, in post for Dec 17, 2009: "Life in Beni" in para "Walking to UCBC," see: http://sweetvanderpoel.wordpress.com/

From up above you would but see
A verdant, dense, un-trodden jungle,
Yet winding its way between the green,
We tread together this well-worn path.
Not broad, not always safe, narrow,
Yet, no narrow gate we see, no guide,
But song-birds accompany our way.

It can be dry and dusty, and sometimes
We encounter others, unlike us, going
The other way. They look quizzically,
What are ‘them’ doing here? For
Narrow roads, like this, lead often
Where others, like us, are not wont to go.
Yet we will go, where we are called.

Calling; we hear the song-birds
Calling out in love to each other.
Their song cheers our hearts,
As they break the silence of the forest.
But the call of the one who calls us,
Is far harder to distinguish, amidst
The bustling life of this jungle world.

And yet, we hold fast together,
Consult together, walk this narrow
Path, together, great comfort there.
And if some day the song-birds
Are all disturbed, flipping from
Tree to tree, cheeping with agitation,
Listen hard, they call to thee.

A Christmas Greeting dedicated to Matt & Rachel Sweet Vanderpoel, while spending an academic year in the DR Congo, knowing Matt's love of song-birds, and thinking also of Joachim Patinir's paintings of landscape, as an image of the pilgrimage of life, may this path leave its mark on you, as you leave your mark on it. – JW, Dec 21, 2009.

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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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