Image

IMAGE
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Poor faun, who must expire,
Reflect me in your pupils.
Take my memory to dance
For my dark immortals.
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Go, and tell those pensive dead
For whom my pranks were a joy so rare,
I dream of them beneath the yews
Where I walk, petite and near.
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Describe my air, my brow so vivid,
Bound by woollen bandelettes;
How firm my mouth is, fingers plump
And redolent of grass and privet.
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Tell them of my weightless moves
As various as the shadow play
That teeters through the living leaves
Innumerable in pearmen’s groves.
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You can include the lazy look
That slows my eyelids, almost sullen,
How I do my evening dance
In a dress the breeze has swollen.
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Whisper to them how I nap,
My bare arms folded underneath
My cheek, my skin with hint of gold
Admitting veins of violet.
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Say how sweet it is to see
My hair as blue as plums can be
And how each foot reflects the other,
How the moon invades each eye.
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And how, when dusk weighs sad and gloomy,
Cast down by the cool of springs
And aching for them and their love,
In vain I pull their shadows to me.

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Comtesse Anna de Noailles (1876-1933)
Painting by Philip de Lazlo, completed 1913. Version by Anthony Howell

 

Had she been reading Andrew Marvell? The Nymph Complaining for the death of her Faun.
The original is below:

L’image

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Joris-Karl Huysmans on Modern Art

 

One of my favourite authors! His views on Modern Art are at last translated by Brendan King (Dedalus, 2020).

Tim Keane has an excellent article about this in Hyperallergic – a very good art site. And I also review Brendan King’s book in my essay in the Fortnightly Review Meandering through La Belle Epoch.

 

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A Cloud Garden for Bruce Grove

Petition to make a Cloud Garden in Luke Howard’s House – The ‘Namer of Clouds’ resided in Bruce Grove, off Tottenham High Street. Here is a poem Goethe wrote to him.

CLOUD FORMS
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When, from the water’s quiet mirror,
A mist floats off like a carpet
And the moon, wrapped in its undulations,
Revels in their haunted, haunting play,
Then we are pleased as children;
Watching it lift up the mountain,
Deepen and then spread,
Bar after bar, to become the sort
Of lowering sky that can go either way:
Soak us or pass on, overhead.
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And if from there it should be raised
Up to a thinner atmosphere
How firmly based, how crisp it seems,
Towering, gathering all its splendour
For a proclamation on the plenitude of power
(Since what we fear may well be our fate).
We tremble in the shadow of its threatening.
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Say it climbs higher still;
The threat now utterly removed
Into a heavenly lightness,
A mere something there that dissolves
Ever so softly; less than a patter of fleeces
Moving, deliciously combed,
Upwards from below, towards
Their Shepherd, into his lap and hand.
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Yet all must be brought down
By the weight of our world.
Pierced, when dense and very large,
The stack must thunderously
Discharge, as armies do that roll out
In splendid array only to disintegrate;
The earth then receiving their remains.
But keep the eye on where it frays,
Describing what comes down while feeling
That it’s upwards we should always gaze.
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After Goethe –  stratus, cumulus, cirrus, nimbus
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I Believe in Bill

People may dismiss my distrust of Bill Gates as conspiratorial, but wouldn’t I be even more spooky if I were to endorse his projects?  This thought inspired the following poem:
I BELIEVE IN BILL
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I believe in Bill because he’s right.
We are the plague in ourselves. We are the locusts
As much as actual locusts are. As a field
Has to lie fallow for a year, so a species
Needs to die back. So he’s right
To bequeath us such inoculation as ensures
That infertility will dog our children,
Which is as it should be, ask Greta,
And she’ll say that’s what Uncle George says too.
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Painted Pallets, May 2020…

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painted pallet 51

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Continuation of my painted pallets – the sheets of cartridge paper I use to test brush loads and marks when I paint figurative watercolours. From limiting myself to adding one colour only per pallet, I have moved on to occasional use of white as well, and, in the latest ones, to adding no colour whatsoever, just adding water, using the pigment already on the paper.

Viewers are welcome to rotate the images.

Click the links below for earlier watercolours in the series:

Painted pallets 21-40 (April 2020) 

Painted pallets 1-20 (March 2020)

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An Essay on Fawzi Karim

Click here for my essay on Fawzi Karim  together with a selection of his verse in The latest issue of The High Window.

The two books of my versions of his poetry are Plague Lands and Incomprehensible Lesson – both published by Carcanet.

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Write where we are now

Pleased to see two more poems of mine in Write where we are Now

Carol Ann Duffy’s initiative with Manchester University, during lock-down. They have used four. I must say, I am encouraged! My thanks to all involved.

Scroll down for more, and you’ll find them.

Click for other Links to Poems of mine or browse down my “Poetry” category on here.

But the fact of the matter is I find it practically impossible to write or to read during the lock-down so I am doing watercolours instead, going for walks and dancing isolation tango.

 

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Painted Pallets, April 2020…

 

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painted pallet 37

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painted pallet 28

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Click here for Painted Pallets 1- 20 

When I paint figurative watercolours, I always have a piece of paper of the same size next to my painting, where I can test my brush mark. I call it my pallet, and I have kept each of these over the years, and mid march I decided to paint each one, using only one colour per pallet.

This is the second batch of twenty, I’m still applying the rule of adding one colour per pallet, but decided to break a “watercolour rule” of only getting white by leaving the paper unpainted, this allowed the work to evolve, so that white is sometimes added.

As with the previous 20, it’s unclear to me whether there is or is not a “way up”. So feel free to flip.

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Painted Pallets, March 2020…

 

Painted pallet 20

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painted pallet 13

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painted pallet 9

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painted pallet 4

 

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painted pallet 1

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Project started mid-March 2020. I took the sheets used as pallets for my figurative water-colours and decided to paint them, while being limited to using only one colour when painting on top of any one pallet. I deliberately don’t use the word palette. Conjures up French wooden plates with a hole for the thumb. My smallish side-sheets of cardboard are too humble for that. Call it poetic licence.

Is there a way up? Sometimes maybe. Sometimes not. I may have arbitrarily chosen a “way up” – but perhaps there is no one way up. If I ever frame them, I will need to devise a way they can be hung horizontally or vertically from any side. Visitors are welcome to save any of these and see whether they prefer it flipped another way.

Anthony

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Two Families of Rats

Sonnet VII, from Immoral Sonnets, published in Sonnets1999, Grey Suit Editions
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Two families of rats were placed inside
Some rooms which set a limit to their space.
Adequately housed, they multiplied;
Indeed, their population grew apace.
Next, overcrowding caused them to decide
That segregated rooms would not disgrace
Their nature, and each quartered in the place
Allotted them. All mating was decried.
Instead the males chose only to embrace
Their brothers, just as on the female side
The same behaviour also now applied,
Though several sat alone, without a trace
Of interest in their gender or their race:
Since when the whole community has died.

 

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