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, May 17, 2012

John Walford, "The Dream of a Shadow," 2012

The Dream of a Shadow, 2012, originally uploaded by johnwalford.

My Flickr contact, Actaeon, provided this image of mine with a wonderful quote from Pindar, which, roughly translated from Actaeon's French reads thus:

"Ephemeral beings, who are we then?
Man is the dream of a shadow,
But when the gods direct, a beam
Of shining light surrounds him,
And his existence becomes sweet as honey."

--Pindar, his conclusion to An Ode for an Olympic victor.

Also translated thus:

Creatures of a day! What is a man?
What is he not? A dream of a shadow
Is our mortal being. But when there comes to men
A gleam of splendour given of heaven,
Then rests on them a light of glory
And blessed are their days. (Pythian 8)

As given in French by Actaeon:

"êtres éphémères, qui sommes nous donc ?
l'homme est le rêve d'une ombre
mais quand les dieux dirigent sur lui un rayon
une lumière brillante l'environne
et son existence devient douce comme le miel"

Pindare pour un Olympionique

Flickr's Lamato Feliz's "Concurso de calles-Romería S.Isidro-Calle Barrio Perchél Alameda (Málaga) Año 2012".

"Due Diligence"

Each one, diligent,
To his assigned role,
Faithfully attends,
For on it, life depends.

--JW, for Lameato Feliz, May 17, 2012.

Friday, May 11, 2012

john Walford, "Catch The Shadow," 2012

Catch The Shadow, 2012, originally uploaded by johnwalford.

"Catch the Shadow"

I once was, as you now are,
Reaching up, to catch the shadow.
Always, like rainbow's end,
Out of reach, but worth the striving.

-- JW, dedicated to my artist-friend,
Joel Sheesley,
on the occasion of the opening
of his Self-Portrait/Apocalypse
exhibition, May 9th, 2012.

Seen at a Retrospective of Self-Portraits - mostly within other works - by Joel Sheesley from ca. 1970-2012. Note: The Shadow is of the artist, and is actually painted onto the wall, as well as overlapping [ie. painted onto] the etching of himself from 1972.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

John Walford's photo "I flew! I chirped! I died a sudden death!" 2012

"When A Sparrow Falls to The Ground, 2012"

Once but a warm yolk encased in a fragile shell, from Spring’s winds by wound twigs protected. Mother’s fluffy underside kept us all warm; Father faithfully fed Mom, until we too all shrieked like hell. Mom and Dad faithfully dropped wiggly worms in our wide-open beaks, until we learned to fly and feed. Pushed from the nest, and now out on our own, I soon found shelter from Winter winds, under the eaves of an old, blue-gray house, in company with others like me, my cousins. We bickered.

None of us ever strayed far from our abode. We had no need to, food and drink we easily found. And then we grew up, and discovered a liking for each other. Now I found myself collecting twigs, even bits of old plastic, which handily kept out the wind. Soon we had our own little brood – just as it had always been, since time immemorial – or so the old birds told us. But we were surely prouder of our brood than any before us, and I worked hard to keep the nest secure, predators at bay, the Missus fed, and, soon after, as our fresh eggs hatched out, we fed all those new squeaky beaks too. I would set out into our leafy neighborhood, flipping from driveways to lawns, and into the woods, finding the best of morsels, to bring proudly back to the nest.

It was always the same routine, breakfast, lunchtime and supper, and each little one always wanted to be fed first, and finish last, and none seemed ever contented that I brought home enough. The only form of gratitude that I received back was six sets of beaks, falling contentedly asleep. Then it happened, flying low, I swooped down lower than usual, deceived by new glass, not yet soiled by time, and thinking the path before me wide open, I hear this dreadful thud. My neck buckled in an instant, I fell on my back, and as the last breath passed from me, I wondered, what will the Missus think when I don’t ever return? And what will befall our baby sparrows?

- John Walford, witness to the end, May 5th, 2012.

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John Walford

John Walford
Not All That Meets The Eye

About Me

My photo
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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