Saturday, January 24, 2009

Basho, Coorte, Bly, and Burns

Norbert Blei, proprietor of Basho's Road, posted an intriguing excerpt from Art is: The Audacity of Still Life, an article by Benjamin Moser published in the February 2009 issue of Harpers Magazine. There is an interesting comparison in the works of still-life artist Adriaen Coorte and poet Matsuo Basho.

Parts of the Old North State experienced the season's first significant snowfall last Tuesday, blanketing areas with an almost "still-life" yet moving quality best described in a poem that appeared in today's offering of The Writer's Almanac:

Snowfall In The Afternoon

by Robert Bly

The grass is half-covered with snow.
It was the sort of snowfall that starts in late afternoon,
And now the little houses of the grass are growing

If I could reach down, near the earth,
I could take handfuls of darkness!
A darkness that was always there, which we never

As the snow grows heavier, the cornstalks fade farther
And the barn moves nearer to the house.
The barn moves all alone in the growing storm.

The barn is full of corn, and moving toward us now,
Like a hulk blown toward us in a storm at sea;
All the sailors on deck have been blind for many

"Snowfall In The Afternoon" by Robert Bly, from Eating the Honey of Words: New and Selected Poems. © Harper Flamingo, 1999.

I'll close with an interesting article published in the Christian Science Monitor entitled Scotland turns to 18th-century poet for economic stimulus.

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