Viewing Joseph Wright’s paintings in Derby

Image result for joseph wright of derbyThe light from within the Orrery

illuminates the children’s faces.

This glow in the darkness

spreads and each canvas is lit.

This picture depicts some wonder of generosity;

a marvel that touches deeply your curiosity.

Here around are landscapes, portraits and myths

gathered in profuse display and all Wright.

Here Arkwright sits near the spools of cotton

woven at his water-powered mill,

seemingly the quintessence of optimistic enterprise.

Beyond Arkwright’s son and wife look

more prosperous yet more mannered too as

Gainsborough might depict.

Across here a scene from Laurence Sterne

has captured Wright’s inquisitive imagination.

Nearby Vesuvius again erupts into crimson

and emerald below in the bay boats float

with fishermen undistracted in their industrious

capture of shoals beneath the calm seas.

I too am captured by a certain canvas in which

an Indian squaw sits widowed on a hillside under

her hero husband’s suspended arms and

awaits the breaking tumult from the threatening clouds.

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The Oriole-a nature poem by Emily Dickinson

  1. One of the ones that Midas touched,
    Who failed to touch us all,
    Was that confiding prodigal,
    The blissful oriole.

So drunk, he disavows it
With badinage divine;
So dazzling, we mistake him
For an alighting mine.

A pleader, a dissembler,
An epicure, a thief, —
Betimes an oratorio,
An ecstasy in chief;

The Jesuit of orchards,
He cheats as he enchants
Of an entire attar
For his decamping wants.

The splendor of a Burmah,
The meteor of birds,
Departing like a pageant
Of ballads and of bards.

I never thought that Jason sought
For any golden fleece;
But then I am a rural man,
With thoughts that make for peace.

But if there were a Jason,
Tradition suffer me
Behold his lost emolument
Upon the apple-tree.

Some beautiful lines in this poem and I find myself wondering about what sort of mine might be “lighted”. Also, verse 4 which puzzles me but I find entirely beautiful too.

An Emily Dickinson -There is another sky

There is another sky,
Ever serene and fair,
And there is another sunshine,
Though it be darkness there;
Never mind faded forests, Austin,
Never mind silent fields—
Here is a little forest,
Whose leaf is ever green;
Here is a brighter garden,
Where not a frost has been;
In its unfading flowers
I hear the bright bee hum:
Prithee, my brother,
Into my garden come!

by Emily Dickinson

Alphonse Osbert-born in Paris in 1857 and died there in 1939

This French painter studied at the School of Fine Arts and under Henri Lehmann, Fernand Cormorant and Léon Bonnat. His entrance to the salon of 1880, Portrait of MO (“without a trace”), reflected his early attraction the realist tradition of Spanish painting of the 17th century. Impressionism’s impact encouraged him to lighten his palette and paint outdoor landscapes. At the end of the decade of 1880, Habibo cultivated the friendship of several symbolist poets and the well-known painter Puvis de Chavannes, which made him abandon his naturalist approach and adopt the aesthetic idealism of poetic painting. Abandoning topics extracted from daily life, Osbert proposed to transmit personal visions and developed his own set of pictorial symbols. Inspired by Puvis, simplified forms of landscape, which served as backgrounds for static and isolated figures dissolved by a  mysterious light. A pointillist technique, taken from Seurat, a friend of Lehmann’s, tended to dematerialize forms and add luminosity. However, Osbert avoided the full range of nuances of the so called “divisionists” of their choice of blues, violets, yellows and silvery green. The mysticism of Osbert is located in the center of the painting. The Rosacrucian ideal of “art as an evocation of mystery, as a prayer” finds no better expression than the virginal figure of faith, often interpreted as Saint Geneviève or Saint Jeanne, situated in a meadow with a lamb and wrapped in a supernatural radiance. Such works were praised by the Symbolist writers who considered them as visual counterparts of the poetry of Paul Verlaine, Stéphane Mallarmé and Maurice Maeterlinck. Osbert was called “painter of the Nights ” “Alma artist ” and “Poet of Silence” for his evocation of an atmosphere of mystery and reverie.

(With thanks to the incomparable Ines Vigo for this transcription from You Tube)

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The Hazardous Hunt for Madam Butterfly

Butterfly escaped his attention

that foggy night, whilst his ears

were ringing from the singing of “The Mikado“,

so his splendid new automobile skidded

over the edge on the road near Lucca.

So in February of 1903 Puccini plunged

off the embankment and

fell down fifteen feet.

 

Having had that five metre fall

he found his right shin bone fractured.

In May he was disconsolate and complaining-no surprise

as it was badly set

had to be broken again

and reset.

 

In deep depression he wrote again

to Illica, his versifying lyricist;

Addio tutto, addio Butterfly, addio vita mea

Not easy to catch this fleeting insect-girl,

but in June, he slowly began once again

and by December,

the orchestration was finally complete.

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Source

The Complete Operas of Puccini

by Charles Osborne

 

 

The Two Red Towers-Translated by Arthur Waley

THE TWO RED TOWERS
(A Satire against Clericalism)

Po Chu-I(A.D.772-846)

The Two Red Towers
North and south rise facing each other.
I beg to ask, to whom do they belong?
To the two Princes of the period Chēng Yüan.
The two Princes blew on their flutes and drew down fairies
from the sky,
Who carried them off through the Five Clouds, soaring away
to Heaven.
Their halls and houses, that they could not take with them,
Were turned into Temples planted in the Dust of the World.
In the tiring-rooms and dancers’ towers all is silent and still;
Only the willows like dancers’ arms, and the pond like a mirror.
When the flowers are falling at yellow twilight, when things are sad and hushed,
One does not hear songs and flutes, but only chimes and bells.
The Imperial Patent on the Temple doors is written in letters of gold;
For nuns’ quarters and monks’ cells ample space is allowed.
For green moss and bright moonlight—plenty of room provided;
In a hovel opposite is a sick man who has hardly room to lie down.
I remember once when at P’ing-yang they were building a great man’s house
How it swallowed up the housing space of thousands of ordinary men.
The Immortals are leaving us, two by two, and their houses are turned into Temples;
I begin to fear that the whole world will become a vast
convent.