Tuesday, December 23, 2008

December 23, 2008

The Second Coming

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in the sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches toward Bethlehem to be born?


Yeats' poetry went through a period of stylistic simplification at the midpoint of his life. The prominent Irish poet Seamus Heaney commended Yeats for continually altering and refining his poetic craftsmanship. "He reminds you that revision and slog-work are what you have to undergo if you seek the satisfaction of the finish; he bothers you with the suggestion that if you have managed to do one kind of poem your own way, you should cast off that way and face into another area of your experience until you have learned a new voice to say that area properly."
* click on Yeats' name under the poem for more information about the poem.

5 comments:

Carol Wiebe said...

Oh my, oh my . . . this is powerful. And what a perfect piece of poetry you have put with it. Things are falling apart: you can see it. The red circle is riveting, especially against its complement, but the center will not hold if everything falls apart around it. And the loosened boards have the look of a wing. A cruciform composition is so appropriate for the second coming. I would put this on my wall AS IS!

Bravo!

Lainie said...

One of my favorite poems ever. . . along with its namesakes, the Joan Didion book and the Joni Mitchell song. And that is a wonderful, intriguing photograph. Where is it?

Wishing you a very happy Christmas.

Jane Dunnewold said...

On Saturday we went to Victoria, Texas to a family get together. On the way home we stopped at a small rural burial ground and walked respectfully among the grave stones while the sun went down. The photo I took is of a piece of fencing right outside that cemetery.

Jackie said...

Bravo! I went to Ireland in August and bought a collection of Yeats, very nice to renew my acquaintance with him. (My undergrad English major courses were awhile ago.) The photo is an excellent complement to the poem, again--bravo!

Judy said...

Love the photo, but then also love how you cropped it in the next entry.

November 20, 2008

November 20, 2008

November 20, 2008

How does color set a mood? The soft gray and white of the carpet, the cat Marshall, and the sunlit window contribute to to the sense of calm repose. What does blue mean to you or me? We all have symbolic associations for colors; some based on personal experience and some instilled culturally. 

The cobalt blue of the vase provides a point and counterpoint to the composition, in addition to providing elements that balance.
Keeping the cat in the lower third of the composition weights the image and is another visual door into the picture world.

November 19, 2008

November 19, 2008

November 19, 2008

This picture tells several stories. It references the human desire to order the world around us - the lettering on the wall establishes the alley as a No Parking zone, and the broken glass-  jutting out at the top - is another message of fear and frailty. Whoever lives behind this wall wants to be left alone.

But there is beauty in the contrast of the rough brick surface and the smooth translucency of the broken glass bottles. A contrast of textures makes for an interesting composition. And the abstract nature of the printed letters against the structure of the bricks would be worth emulating in another sort of composition.

There is as much beauty in decay as there is in a bouquet of fresh flowers. And aren't decay and fresh growth just two different spots on the same continuum?



November 18, 2008

November 18, 2008

November 18, 2008

The Hydrangeas offer a lesson in the effective use of color. The pale blue and lavender are roughly the same value, so they balance each other beautifully. I am challenged to mimic that combination of analogous colors on silk Habotai!

This photograph would be considered beautiful even without the red-orange and yellow flowers at the bottom. But the addition of the complements to the blue and purple creates a focal point and generates some nice contrast because of the complementary pairing. And imagine how different this composition would be, were the red-orange and yellow at the top instead of at the bottom. The current placement adds important visual weight.

November 17, 2008

November 17, 2008

November 16, 2008

November 16, 2008
Being and Non-being

Substance and Light

November 16, 2008

We join spokes together in a wheel,
but it is the center hole
that makes the wagon move.

We shape clay into a pot,
but it is the emptiness inside 
that holds whatever we want.

We hammer wood for a house,
but it is the space inside
that holds whatever we want.

We work with being,
but non-being is what we use.

Tao te Ching; Verse 11
Stephen Mitchell translation