Setting Aside the Sad Politics: Some Art for a Sunday

So in reading my facebook feed this morning, I came across a teaching colleague’s post expressing that he’d more or less had his fill of reading about this sideshow that has been going on in politics.  That we need to start finding something else to talk about, to just get back to the business of lifting ourselves  out of this mess and muck and outright insanity.  So I guess I am posting this short blog with a bit of art that speaks volumes about what gives us hope over despair.


“Have you reckon’d a thousand acres much? have you reckon’d the earth much?
Have you practis’d so long to learn to read? Have you felt so proud to get at the meaning of poems?
Stop this day and night with me and you shall possess the origin of all poems, You shall possess the good of the earth and sun, (there are millions of suns left,) You shall no longer take things at second or third hand, nor look through the eyes of the dead, nor feed on the spectres in books, You shall not look through my eyes either, nor take things from me, You shall listen to all sides and filter them from your self. ”  —Walt Whitman, “Song of Myself

Henry Tanner, "The Annunciation"

“As we go marching, marching, we bring the greater days,The rising of the women means the rising of the race.No more the drudge and idler, ten that toil where one reposes,But a sharing of life’s glories: Bread and roses, bread and roses.Our lives shall not be sweated from birth until life closes;Hearts starve as well as bodies; bread and roses, bread and roses.”  —James Oppenheim

Henry Tanner, "The Banjo Lesson"

Tomorrow, I’ll be at the table

When company comes.

Nobody’ll dare

Say to me, “Eat in the kitchen,”

Then. Besides,

They’ll see how beautiful

I am

And be ashamed–
I, too, am America.

Langston Hughes

Jane Gilday performs “Don’t that Beat Everything”

Bob Dylan performing at St. Lawrence Universit...

Image via Wikipedia

Oh the time will come up

When the winds will stop

And the breeze will cease to be breathin’

Like the stillness in the wind

’Fore the hurricane begins

The hour when the ship comes in

Oh the seas will split

And the ship will hit

And the sands on the shoreline will be shaking

Then the tide will sound

And the wind will pound

And the morning will be breaking

Oh the fishes will laugh

As they swim out of the path

And the seagulls they’ll be smiling

And the rocks on the sand Will proudly stand

The hour that the ship comes in

And the words that are used

For to get the ship confused

Will not be understood as they’re spoken

For the chains of the sea

Will have busted in the night

And will be buried at the bottom of the ocean

A song will lift As the mainsail shifts

And the boat drifts on to the shoreline

And the sun will respect

Every face on the deck

The hour that the ship comes in

Bob Dylan

From “When the Ship Comes In”

Copyright © 1963, 1964 by Warner Bros. Inc.; renewed 1991, 1992 by Special Rider Music

(borrowed as fair use for educational purposes)

Marc Chagall, Paris Opera Ceiling

I choose to be a figure in that light, half-blotted by darkness,

something moving across that space, the color of stone greeting the moon,

yet more than stone: a woman.

I choose to walk here.

And to draw this circle. —Adrienne Rich, from “Twenty-One Love Poems” 1974-76

this arlo guthrie video is so beautiful. ..the embedding doesn’t work, but if you click through, you won’t be sorry.  so inspiring.  thanks, woody and arlo.  🙂


Birds, Bugs, and Other Sciencey Stuff. . .Happy Father’s Day, Dad

When I was growing up, unlike a lot of kids my age, I almost never had to worry about having too many questions.

Anytime I had things to ask about, things for which a kid needed immediate answers, immediate fleshing out with full descriptions including the latin classifications, words longer and more inscrutable than the ones you got in church, mostly questions about things like birds, bugs and other sciencey stuff, . .

I always knew the guy to go to.

Mostly I remember following him around the house, one hand tugging on the hem of his shirt. .  . the other clenched around a smashed set of wings, the iridescent powder coating the insides of my fingertips. ..”Hey Dad, what kinda butterfly is this?”

(A dead one, Kiddo)

If he didn’t know the answer, he never seemed to mind looking it up for us. ..and then launching into a couple bazillion brief words about the meaning of life as seen through the biology teacher’s microscope.


Sometimes he would sing to us too, in this exaggerated baritone voice. ..mostly weird old folksongs. . .the one about the old lady who swallowed a lot of insects. . .the one about a boy’s best friend being his mother (his ma) and this one. . . never mind we all grew up in towns surrounded by corn and not cotton:

I also remember the way he adored and still adores my Mom, and spent those post-honeymoon days chasing her around the house, trying to coax a smile out with his favorite Hank Williams tune (I doubt he even remembers, but I do) :

Dad has always been a lotta guys to me. Mom and to the rest of my siblings. . .

Always the right words of embarrassment in front of friends

and the awkwardness of our names being called in a hillbilly holler for dinner heard from two blocks away. ..

Bug identifier, storm cloud watcher, furnace fixer, Christmas lightstrings untangler, long-winded philosopher and explainer of all things great and small. ..but mostly he was just a pretty good person to have around the house when we needed him.

Thanks for teaching how to love the right stuff, Dad.

Love, Tessilu