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, July 17, 2011

Flickr's Algo's "hands," (B&W version), 2005/2011


hands B&W, originally uploaded by algo.

"Hands"

In well-nigh one hundred, well-lived years,
I've touched so many, varied, other things;
And as many others have touched me.
Gently, softly, fiercely, harshly, tugging,
Pushing, bending, reaching, scratching,
I have laid my fingers out for others, --
As well as for my own will and grasp.
And I keep on scratching, reaching, still.

These fingers of mine, once the marvel
Of my mom and dad. They counted them,
And touched them, one-by-one, softly
Separating each from its neighbor,
Each a wonder, formed in the womb,
By manufacture, which no man touched.
The wonder of ten little fingers, poked
Into every crevice, holding a 'sippy cup'.

They have held my bottle, put ten thousand
Treats into my mouth, held pencils, pens,
Pots and pans, and, yes, knitting needles.
They have reached out, caressed the boy
I first did love, reached out again, yet again.
They fended off unwanted advances,
Straightened the creases of a party dress,
And now they are entwined around each other.

What yet will they touch, what germ, unwittingly
Bring from another to the nose? - And so to the lungs.
And what then? Gradually, they may lose their grip
On this transient world, and grasp at eternity. There
They will find a pair of hands, unlike all others,
Reaching out, ready to receive, merciful, warm,
Full of charity, ready to raise up, warm, and comfort -
An eternal balm, for all the aches that withered them.

-- JW, July 17, 2011, in honor of the this extraordinary lady, well nigh 100 years old, and still carefully trimming her nails, and to Algo, whose B&W version pleases my eye for its rich shadows.

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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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