bellasemplicita

Regaining a lost love for beauty and simplicity.

Tag: Black and White

Irony

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‘Leto and Niobe were deeply loving friends.’

– Sappho (no. 85)

When I first read this remnant of one of Sappho’s poems, I took it as a statement of fact.  Although, I knew the myth I was unable to detect a sense of irony.  It seemed to add an interesting quirk to the story.  Perhaps I took it as fact because I was more interested in it being so.

Leto and Niobe were deeply loving friends.’

However, when I now read this fragment I can not help but wonder what Sappho meant.  Perhaps it is only cruel irony.

Photo by Mario Giacomelli

I’m Back

Hello again!  After a very long hiatus I am back to blogging!  (My absence was mostly the result of technical difficulties, so hopefully I will be back here for good.)

In celebration, allow me to share one of my very favorite poems.

 

“Glory be to God for dappled things –

For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;

For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;

Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;

Landscape plotted and pieced – fold, fallow, and plough;

And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;

Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)

With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;

He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:

Praise him.”

 

Pied Beauty, Gerard Manley Hopkins

Some Goals

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I normally refrain from making any definite goals for the new year – things along the line of ‘run more, bike more, etc.’  Things that are far from helpful.  So this year I am making myself several very definite goals.  I thought I would share some of them with you.

–  Run a Marathon.

–  Run a 70.3 Ironman event.

–  Take a photo every day.

–  Read 156 books, that is 3 books a week.

–  Make one of those 3 books a Shakespeare play.  (I don’t know my Shakespeare nearly as well as I could wish!)

–  Read a new poet every week

–  Cook/bake a new recipe every week

–  Knit an Aran sweater.

May your New Year be blessed!

Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come, whispering, ‘It will be happier.’     – Tennyson

And One More Poem

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“Gathering leaves
Spades take up leaves
No better than spoons,
And bags full of leaves
Are light as balloons.
I make a great noise
Of rustling all day
Like rabbit and deer
Running away.
But the mountains I raise
Elude my embrace,
Flowing over my arms
And into my face.
I may load and unload
Again and again
Till I fill the whole shed,
And what have I then?
Next to nothing for weight,
And since they grew duller
From contact with earth,
Next to nothing for color.
Next to nothing for use.
But a crop is a crop,
And who’s to say where
The harvest shall stop?” 

– Robert Frost

Autumn

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O Autumn, laden with fruit, and stain’d
With the blood of the grape, pass not, but sit
Beneath my shady roof; there thou may’st rest,
And tune thy jolly voice to my fresh pipe,
And all the daughters of the year shall dance!
Sing now the lusty song of fruits and flowers.

“The narrow bud opens her beauties to
The sun, and love runs in her thrilling veins;
Blossoms hang round the brows of Morning, and
Flourish down the bright cheek of modest Eve,
Till clust’ring Summer breaks forth into singing,
And feather’d clouds strew flowers round her head.

“The spirits of the air live in the smells
Of fruit; and Joy, with pinions light, roves round
The gardens, or sits singing in the trees.”
Thus sang the jolly Autumn as he sat,
Then rose, girded himself, and o’er the bleak
Hills fled from our sight; but left his golden load.

– To Autumn, William Blake

‘Poetry’

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‘The very fact that she wrote poetry in Buchenwald suggests that poetry itself is a part of the mind reserved for resistance to force.  Poetry doesn’t just help someone survive, it is a survivor itself: fluid, protean, as it passes through walls, and brings a particular beat to a way of thinking and being.’

Fanny Howe

Italy

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I have always, quite possibly from the moment I gained consciousness, desired to travel the world but especially Italy.  The many things that I have heard second-hand about Italy deeply resonate with my ideas off family and culture and life.  I love the geography, the cities, the art, the history, the food, and what I think the culture and the people are like.  And I am finally heading of to Italy!  Finally!  My Mom and I have two weeks to hit all of the main spots – Rome, Siena, Florence, Venice, Ravenna, Assisi, etc.  I don’t know how we will be able to see all I could wish!  Of course if you have any ideas and travel tips please feel free to pass them along.

And now enough of me – here is a quote from Alberti’s Prologue to On Painting.  He is speaking about the accomplishments that some at the beginning of the Renaissance had achieved and later more specifically Brunelleschi and ‘his dome’.

“Therefore, I believe the power of acquiring wide fame in any art or science lies in our industry and diligence more than in the times or in the gifts of nature.  It must be admitted that it was less difficult for the Ancients – because they had models to imitate and from which they could learn – to come to a knowledge of those supreme arts and sciences without teachers or without any model whatsoever.”

Classicism

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“One of the great Victorians has said that if classicism is the love of the usual beauty, romanticism is the love of the strange in beauty, and the statement gives to admiration the essence of the difference between the two.  The very words romance, romantic call up a vision, vague yet bright, that banishes the drabness and monotony of every day life with a sense of possible excitements and adventures.  Of course, if every day life did not look drab and monotonous there would be no reason to turn to romance.  That is primarily why the Greeks were not romantic.  Facts were full of interest to them.  They found enough beauty and delight in them to have no desire to go beyond.

But to Romans facts were not beautiful nor, in themselves, interesting.  The eagerness for inquiry into everything in the universe which had stamped Greece never reached Rome.”

– Edith Hamilton from ‘The Roman Way’ Chapter 10 – The Roman Way

A Man Is Rich . . .

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“for a man is rich in proportion to the number of things

which he can afford to let alone” – Henry Thoreau, Walden

‘Tis the Season

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I have been absent from this blog for much too long.  However visiting Seattle with my family and wrapping up this school semester have kept me very busy!  When I get the chance I will share some of my pictures from Seattle and some portraits of my beautiful friend Madeleine.

Until then let me share this passage from Isaiah with you.  I always love Advent – a time for anticipating the arrival of Jesus.  Reading the prophesies about the coming of the Messiah at this time every year always fills me with such excitement, joy, and peace.  I hope this passage blesses you as much as it has blessed me.

‘A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse;

    from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him—
the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and of might,
the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord—
and he will delight in the fear of the Lord.

He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes,
or decide by what he hears with his ears;
but with righteousness he will judge the needy,
with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth.
He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth;
with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked.
Righteousness will be his belt
and faithfulness the sash around his waist.

The wolf will live with the lamb,
the leopard will lie down with the goat,
the calf and the lion and the yearling together;
and a little child will lead them.
The cow will feed with the bear,
their young will lie down together,
and the lion will eat straw like the ox.
The infant will play near the cobra’s den,
and the young child will put its hand into the viper’s nest.
They will neither harm nor destroy
on all my holy mountain,
for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord
as the waters cover the sea.

In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his resting place will be glorious.’

Isaiah 11:1 – 10