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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Sunday, November 21, 2010

My own "Remembrance & Thanksgiving," 2010

(This was a table centerpiece for a dinner party that took place more than a year ago. I just could not throw it away, and it finds a new setting among the fall leaves, still possessing a radiant, though faded beauty).

"Remembrance and Thanksgiving"

Will it be the same round of turkey, sweet potatoes,
And the feeling of excess - while others go short?
Will it be the same old family gathering, the same jokes?
And an undercurrent of covert digs, jest, and teasing?
Will we drink the same wines, in the same sequence?
Or could it be that this year's Thanksgiving will excel?

There is in truth so much for which to give thanks.
Two new grandchildren safely delivered to this world -
And both flourishing. Other grandchildren, also thriving.
Much for which to give thanks, and thanks we will give.
Even trials and sorrows have yielded to peace and joy,
Even cold darkness has yielded to the return of warm light.

Yes, we will give thanks; we will all give hearty thanks.
Be thankful for one another; for home and shelter,
For food and employment; yes, thanks for activity -
Activity that sometime strains the nerves, stresses
Out, and wears us down - yet for the gift of rest, for
Week-ends, and sleep, for restoration, we give thanks.

Thanksgiving calls for remembrance, and such is
Bitter-sweet. For so is all existence, like these flowers:
Once fresh and radiant, now dried and faded. Once
The centerpiece for a celebratory meal, now set aside -
But not yet abandoned for good - for still it offers itself
To the patient, thoughtful eye - as, indeed, do I!

--JW, Thanksgiving, November 2010,
my last before retirement from full-time teaching.

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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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