Alexander Averin

Monday, 3 September 2007

Melancholia,, Creativity and Constancy

My pics are by Paul Henry who is my favourite Irish artist, possibly my favourite artist of all. His landscapes are of the west of Ireland, my spiritual home. I have posted some of his before so forgive me if there are one or two you may have already seen.

Dear Diary,

And you would accept the seasons of your heart just as you have always accepted that seasons pass over your fields and you would watch with serenity through the winters of your grief.”

Kahlil Gibran

Yes I want to write about the changing of the seasons. It is, for me, that melancholic time again when tiredness strikes, foundless fears arise and needless worries come to the surface like bad energies needing to be cleared. Perhaps that’s why I’ve chosen a sad poem for you today, one that I stumbled across in the wee small hours of this morning. I’ve been getting attacks of insomnia just lately, waking in the middle of the night or in the early hours.

And here is the poem, chosen for its mood, not the content you understand.

Next Day

Moving from Cheer to Joy, from Joy to All,
I take a box
And add it to my wild rice, my Cornish game hens.
The slacked or shorted, basketted, identical
Food-gathering flocks
Are selves I overlook. Wisdom, said William James,
Is learning what to overlook. And I am wise
If that is wisdom.
Yet somehow, as I buy All from these shelves
And the boy takes it to my station wagon,
What I’ve become
Troubles me even if I shut my eyes.
When I was young and miserable and pretty
And poor, I’d wish
What all girls wish: to have a husband,
A house and children. Now that I’m old, my wish
Is womanish:
That the boy putting groceries in my car
See me. It bewilders me he doesn’t see me.
For so many years
I was good enough to eat: the world looked at me
And its mouth watered. How often they have undressed me,
The eyes of strangers!
And, holding their flesh within my flesh, their vile
Imaginings within my imagining,
I too have taken
The chance of life. Now the boy pats my dog
And we start home. Now I am good.
The last mistaken,
Ecstatic, accidental bliss, the blind
Happiness that, bursting, leaves upon the palm
Some soap and water–
It was so long ago, back in some Gay
Twenties, Nineties, I don’t know . . . Today I miss
My lovely daughter
Away at school, my sons away at school,
My husband away at work–I wish for them.
The dog, the maid,
And I go through the sure unvarying days
At home in them. As I look at my life,
I am afraid
Only that it will change, as I am changing:
I am afraid, this morning, of my face.
It looks at me
From the rear-view mirror, with the eyes I hate,
The smile I hate. Its plain, lined look
Of gray discovery
Repeats to me: “You’re old.” That’s all, I’m old.
And yet I’m afraid, as I was at the funeral
I went to yesterday.
My friend’s cold made-up face, granite among its flowers,
Her undressed, operated-on, dressed body
Were my face and body.
As I think of her I hear her telling me
How young I seem; I am exceptional;
I think of all I have.
But really no one is exceptional,
No one has anything, I’m anybody,
I stand beside my grave
Confused with my life, that is commonplace and solitary.

Randall Jarrell

On a lighter note now, I’ve received a Creative Blogger Award from Laurie, a journalist blogger in America.

The price of such a treasured gift is for me to pass the same award on to five other bloggers who I think are worthy of such a prize. I’ve thought long and hard about this and it has been very difficult to whittle it down to only five so forgive me if you are reading this and think you should be included, you probably should but I am only allowed five.

I am told it is not an award for the quality of the writing alone, rather for the ‘creative elements’ presented that contribute to the final product.

And they are: in alphabetical order:
This site is beautiful and full of creative treats, not least her own wonderful poems and the selection of great pictures.
This site is a spiritual artist’s treat for you of photographs and more and one that is all-embracing of the nature of Wales. A must for tree-lovers.
Another site that lovers of art will enjoy. She presents atmospheric photos and also her own works of art and gives such a flavour of life in New York that you could almost be there with her. An absolute must-read.
This site is also a feast for the eyes with photos and words so tasty that you could almost ‘eat’ them and they are arranged so beautifully. (Country Living eat your heart out).

Last but not least:
Un Peu Loufoque…true creative originality here and a blog that is guaranteed to make you laugh as well. A must-read if ever there was one and well worthy of publication if you ask me. To crown it all there are paintings to enjoy every day. What more can one want?

As I said, I could have included others that I love and there are also those whose writing is superb but whose blogs would be eligible for other awards rather than the ‘creative‘ one.

Blessings before I go?

Sometimes I feel I can only count on the constants in our lives but are there such things? I think there are. Yes I know that all things shall pass - this is sometimes a reassuring thing but can also be a sad one too, the passing of seasons, people, etc. all things are transitory. Perhaps you can come up with some ‘constants’ in your life?

The best I can come up with today are these……

The innocence of children, yes they grow out of it but it is wondrous at the time.

The faithfulness of our pets. In that respect perhaps only dog/cat/other animal lovers like myself may understand.

Words and music. Speaking of which, if you need comfort do listen to Sara Maclachlan's videos below (pause my audio tape first or you will get both playing at once).

Sunshine. Far from constant I know but the Sun is till up there, I know I’ve seen Her shining today! But perhaps the lack of enough of it has affected all of us this year?

Mother Nature. She may change her clothes but she supports us (so far) and is far more beauteous than anything a mere mortal can create.

Farewell for now,

I hate goodbyes,



laurie said...

ah, cait, i recognized paul henry's work immediately. i love his stuff. i bought a small reproduction of one of his paintings the last time we were in dublin. i wish i could afford the real thing.


and excelletn choices for the creative blogger award, especially frances--i'm mostly a lurker on her blog, but i love her paintings and her thoughtfulness.

i do understand your feelings about the change of seasons. funny, when spring turns to summer we don't get blue, but when summer turns to fall....

lampworkbeader said...

Lovely picture Cait, but oh that poem. I'm beginning to feel like that. Too cruel to see my feelings in print!

LittleBrownDog said...

Gorgeous pictures and a fascinating poem - hadn't come across that writer before. I, too, am a big UnPeuLouFoque fan - a woman with an incredible imagination and a wicked sense of humour. I always enjoy your lovely, thoughtful blogs, too, and have often wondered where the smallest town in Britain is.

Pondside said...

Oh Cait - that poem - who among us over the age of 40 hasnt' thought something like that. Difficult to read it though - so dark and bald and true. I can't stay in that place though because at heart I am a pragmatic optimist. My back hurts, but everything else works. I may have rolls and wrinkles where I didn't before, but by God I've earned them and would rather be a wrinkled player in life than a young, lamented corpse! Ane the poem is right - to many I have become invisible. It happens. Older women were invisible to me at one time too, but even the young age and we all get new eyes, and no one appreciates a 70 year old like a 50 year old does.
To everything there is a season, and we just have to try to get comfortable with the one in which we find ourselves.
PS Thanks for posting the Paul Henry paintings again. I bookmarked a site after the first time you introduced him to me and if I ever get to Ireland, a print will be my souvenire.

FunkyMunky said...

Beautiful pictures and a lovely poem. Really enjoyed reading this.

bodran... said...

Thank you so much i havent had an award before!! xxxx
Loved the poem and how true it is, I am now the invisible woman..xx

KittyB said...

Oh Cait - I am almost tearful with thanks, such kind words, both on my blog and here. Do I pass on my five now? Where to start, will have to think long and hard about this...

I loved the Paul Henry pics, the top one reminds me of one of my favourite artists, Simon Palmer. I will blog about him soon I think.

Thanks again xx

Tattie Weasle said...

I've just come back from looking at my Boys - I was so beastly today and your blog promted me to kiss them yet again. Tattie my whippet is at my feet and she's just been hugged too..she's a little puzzled. But I think it's in the air.

Suffolkmum said...

Gorgeous Paul Henry paintings Cait, thank you so much for introducing me to him, I can't get enough of his work now. Superb choices or creative bloggers, well done on your (well deserved) award!

CAMILLA said...

Cait, as ever your pictures are breathtakingly wonderful. One can see so much in a picture. The poem- just heavenly, thank you for sharing it with us.

I do believe there are constants in our lives, and all of which you have wrote are the same as I would have said. I was in a store recently, and stopped a young woman who was holding her new-born baby, I could not help but want to stand and gaze at such a precious gift of new life.

Well done Cait on receiving A Creative Blogger Award. I am not surprised by this at all. Your blogs are mouth-watering, that finds me wanting more. Like a good book that one cannot put down, and not want it to end.

Thank you Dear Cait, I am honoured that you should think my blogs worthy, even though I say this rather blushingly.


Faith said...

Well deserved winner, and so are the 5 you chose.

The faithfulness of pets - ah Yorkie is snuggling up to me and licking my hand as I type!

Exmoorjane said...

The paintings are fabulous - I love the first two especially. I didn't know Paul Henry at all...
Great choices of bloggers too - some lovely unsung heroines here...and blogs that I love dearly, one and all.

Kaycie said...

The pictures are gorgeous and I love Randall Jarrell. When my children were smaller we used to read "The Animal Family" aloud. My copy is beautiful, with pictures by Maurice Sendak.

It is cloudy and gray here in Oklahoma, and even though it is still warm, the mornings are beginning to hint at the autumn to come. I feel a bit melancholy today as well. I think perhaps it's catching.

Frances said...

Good morning Cait, and thank you for the pleasure of another visit to this site.

Everytime that I visit you, I come away with something I did not know before, or something that I had not before thought of. These are fine gifts.

I have left you a longer message over in the forum, but wanted to also thank you here for the lovely compliment. It is rather shocking, actually, to be appreciated in such a way. I'm with Bodran!

Since this is a day off, I must now pry myself away from this screen and keyboard and get out and about.


Posie Rosie said...

Another lovely blog, the paintings are fabulous, I really enjoyed them today.
Loved your choices for creative bloggers, I too really enjoy their blogs.


Cait I am so flattered thank you so much. I can see why you got an award for creativity all your wonderfula rtwork adn music so well planned and laid out. I have a new artist for you, well you may already know him Charles Rennie Macintosh who althoguh known priamrliy as adn architect was a superb watercolourist. Do have a look at this book if you get the chance adn tell me if you like his work.

WesterWitch/Headmistress said...

Helloo Cait . . . interesting that you don't like Autumn when for me it is a source of heart skipping joy when the cold weather creeps in and the leaves turn . . . I wonder how we would relate as people. I love the pictures - not an artist I know - then again I don't 'seek' out art to look at. I didn't read the poem . . I don't know why!!!!

Your blogs are always worth reading slowly and thinking about . . . not to say that others aren't . . . grief better go and get myself a shovel . . .

David said...

Love Paul Henry's painting, Cait. Didn't know of him. Thanks for the intro.

@themill said...

Love James Taylor