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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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Flickr's dou_ble_you's "what is life? what is love? what are we here for?"

Hear - Know - Love - Here

In a numb, melancholy moment,
Mind chilled by a sixth sense
Of the reaper's sharpened scythe,
Little left over to think or say:

"TULP" - A tulip"

Two white ovals:
Eskimo footprints,
Eggs, balls, brights,
Car headlights,
With saltimbanques
Caught in the grill.
Ushered to their
Destiny, by one
Too loose to love,
Or play croquet.
--JW for UU, moved by
your message,
July 29, 2010.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Jon Guido Bertelli's "Portrait of 100-year-old Mexican revolutionary"

This remarkable portrait, by Jon Guido Bertelli, of a 100-year-old Mexican revolutionary, posted to Flickr by dou_ble_you, who there refers to the story behind it, see: http://www.foto8.com/new/online/photo-stories/1200-zapatistas , provides so much food for reflection.

Here are the beginnings of mine:

These are a people cut from another cloth,
Forged by an endurance, few of us know,
Sustained by a vision, few of us grasp -
A testament to courage, few can match.

Who once sat in the rocking chair?
What plans were concocted? What happened?
What of the objects piled on the table? - Besides,
What did a portrait on a rough wall inspire?

JW, July 24, 2010, with thanks to dou_ble_you for posting this remarkable photograph.

Flickr's Lawrence OP / Brother Lawrence Lew 's "Adoremus in æternum"


Adoremus in æternum, originally uploaded by Lawrence OP.

"Illuminated Shadows"

Shadowed profiles,
Imago Dei,
Illuminated by
Light and incense,
Facing their Lord.

What more to say?
Still, calm, devout,
Holding a vision of life
Most cannot grasp-
For Faith intangible.

To Brother Lawrence, O.P., with best wishes, as you now serve the Diaconate, John Walford, July 24, 2010.

Flickr's LawrenceOP / Brother Lawrence Lew's "Somerset Beauty"


Somerset Beauty, originally uploaded by Lawrence OP.

"Vessels of Illumination"

Somerset cider in a cheap pub glass,
Set on a disposable beer mat,
On a rustic table, where woodworm
Have long since had their fill - and left.

Much like us! Hands, eyes, tongue, and feet,
Attached to a disposable corpus,
In a soiled city, where dogs, cats, and rats
have long since had their fill - and left.

Yet let one added element break through:
Lux divina! Effervescent bubbles catch its
Glowing rays, and radiate, spreading joy
Yet further, light from the rim of a plain vessel.

--JW, for Brother Lawrence Lew, of Blackfriars Priory, Oxford,
and originally Kuala Lumpur, on the occasion of
his ordination to the diaconate, July 24, 2010.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Flickr's "donvuci"/ Donald Verry's "bus reflection, rainy morning"


bus reflection, rainy morning, originally uploaded by donvucl.

"Two Hands, One Ambiguous Space"

Would that I could explain why!
But this moves me to want to cry.
Perhaps it is those anonymous hands
Linked, yet separate, hovering
Over a threshold between
Sidewalk and street,
Somewhere above the gutter.
- like us all, straddling worlds
That seem close, yet are but
Illusions of proximity, carried
Through time and space,
On a cyber wave, none can touch.

--JW, for donvucl/ Donald Verry, July 23, 2010, in recognition of your astute photographic eye, and the masterful, visual interpretation that you bring to our shared human environment.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Flickr's "half past eight" (Steve)'s Untitled City Strollers, 2010


http://www.flickr.com/photos/8962959@N02/4470180500/
originally uploaded by half past eight.

"Balancing Complimentary Elements "

When a person has the eye,
Well trained to discern,
The patience to observe,
And wait their time - What happens!?
What seen? Who wants to capture it?

A couple stroll into the field of vision,
As well as into the reflected field.
Shapes line up, point and balance,
Light sharpens and suffuses,
Color reaches its fitting pitch.

Smooth, checkered, reflected,
Set on dynamic diagonals,
Paving stones, sheets of glass,
Perforated curtain walls,
Floating masses, techo wonders.

The organic, played off the geometric,
And Steve is there, at half past eight.

- JW, for Steve/half past eight, July 21, 2010.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Flickr's twisty331 (Jacob Schere's) "Five Windows Two Pipes"


Five Windows Two Pipes, originally uploaded by twisty331.

"Five Windows, Two Pipes, and a Vent"

One, well-painted, beige wall,
Seven outlets, yet no ingress,
Testimonies to hidden interiors,
Whose secrets remain unknown.

Forever veiled behind this wall,
Its windows, barred, screened,
One strangely whitened - Why?
Two banded chocolate brown.

You can wash upstairs, but maybe
Must go down for bowel relief.
Two pipes tell us so. The only
Way--in or out--the phone line.

Who painted those window bands
So neatly? What passes down that
Phone line? The words of lovers?
Or calls of one who likes grasses?

--JW, another to honor the chaste compositions of twisty331 (Jacob Schere),
July 17, 2010.

Flickr's roig61's "From Yavapai Point , South Rim. Grand Canyon National Park"

"The View from the Top"

There are moments when we feel on top of the world;
There are rare times when we are on top of the world.
Other times we shrink into the deepest shadows - but,
At such times, we need to remember the view from the top.

---JW, for roig61, July 17, 2010

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Flickr's twisty331 (Jacob Schere's) "Window Squared Garden Door"


Window Squared Garden Door, originally uploaded by twisty331.

"The Tussle between Nature & Culture"

What man makes is straight and sheer,
Submits to measure, 3-3-1, lines full clear.
Manu-facture now means machines,
That press, and cut - it's all so Schere.

A Creator-God does differently:
All lines have curve, none quite the same,
Species more than man can name,
In orange, purple, blue, and red.

Held up on stems, all twisty, bend;
Throw out sun-panels to catch
The rays and rains send down. -
But time and frost, He too does send.

From birth to grave, there is this dance,
Like plants that twine around man's struts.
Interdependent, they lunge and lance,
As Jacob, with the angel, bends and butts.

--John Walford, for Jacob Schere/twisty331, July 8, 2010,
a salute for your scrupulous eye.

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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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