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, November 8, 2010

Jan Laurens Siesling's "Die Blaue Blume," 2010

"Die Blaue Blume"

It started with a seed, but how did the seed
Get started? How did the seed know its need?
A protective pod, to keep off what? Bees? Birds?
Rain for a season, and then a season for rain.
Some instinct to swell in warm, moist soil,
And the desire to push down deep roots,
Down into rich, moist soil, down into darkness,
Bending round rocks, and avoiding worms.

Once dug down, and rooted, ready to go;
Ready to reach up to the light again.
Breaking ground, now sensing sunlight,
Risking a little green shoot, thrust air-born.
How wonderful the freedom, to rise up,
And sway in the spring winds, growing stronger.
Arms and legs put on some muscle, and extend,
Pushing forth buds, bulging with promised bloom.

Bloom, bloem, luxuriant flower of the dawn,
Twine your sinuous tendrils around a trellis,
Cling for your life, open your blue canopy,
And there you have it – full-fledged, fragrant --
In all its fresh, resplendent morning glory:
Die blaue blume – bleu, blue, and blooming!
Bursting from its curving, dancing, sappy stem,
Nodding its jolly face towards the light of life.

What inner force turns her face to the sun?
What force opens her blue, curving canopy?
What imagination forges a floral umbrella –
With delicate, frilled edges, so feminine, so frail?
Who wound blue threads so succulently soft,
On such a slender frame? Who its pliant stem?
And then… who cares to walk around behind,
Allured by light, filtered blue, blu, bleu, blaue?

- It turned around, and bloomed for you!
-- John Walford, for Jan Laurens Siesling, Nov 7, 2010

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John Walford

John Walford
Not All That Meets The Eye

About Me

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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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