Thursday, January 27, 2011
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Saturday, January 22, 2011
line from Bye and By
"Well the future is already a thing of the past
You were my first love and you will be my last"
Thursday, January 20, 2011
The line used in the title is quoted from Bob Dylan's Emotionally Yours, Bob Dylan. Taken out of context here, the line reminds me of an observation that Theophrastus (c 371 - 287 BCE) is said to have made in his advanced years. Seated in his garden, perhaps, he is reported to have said, and, I paraphrase here, that his life was like a dream; his active lengthy life appeared to him to have passed so rapidly, that he could not explain how he had become decrepit when he still vividly recalled his youthful agility of body and mind. A follower of Aristotle, who selected him to take charge of the master's Peripatetic school located in Athens, also taught there. He is best known for botanical studies which survive, but his extensive corpus on other topics has not. Of course he could explain, but it was the evanescent aspect of life that Theophrastus alluded to.
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Saturday, January 15, 2011
My paternal grandfather was born in 1887 and died in 1959, on January 14, in The Bronx, New York City. At present I do not know where he was born, but I hope to be able to locate the town or at least the region in the future. I believe the town may have been near Kiev, but I have not seen documents that identify its location. His death at 72 was caused by a heart attack. I recall too little, unfortunately about him: had I keener ear perhaps I would have heard more but perhaps Yiddish was spoken when news was not for my ears. My recollection is of a sweet-tempered person who was loving and who loved his wife and family. I also recall that he had been a presser and probably before that a tailor, which was a job typical for eastern European Jews (including Russian Jews). What I do recall vividly is a metal brace that he wore to help support his back; he probably suffered from arthritis, since his job as presser required him to bend over while working for long hours. The brace looked horrific and wondered how it could be worn without causing harm in its own right. My grandfather's job permitted his two sons to attend high school, college, as well as universities, where they earned degrees in medicine and law. Rose, his wife stayed home with the children; I do not recall that she had a job. Their relationship was loving and companionate, but then I only saw them when I was a child. Though time has tended to dull or caused me to forget specifics, I do have a certain recollection of a man who adored his grandchildren and they in turn loved him. He was proud of his sons, and what they had accomplished, although his younger son, Jack, never realized his potential, having died at 39. I have selcted three pictures: Morris and Rose probably in the 1930s, Morris and Rose shortly before he died in Canterbury Connecticut, where his son George had a summer cottage, and Morris with his sons Jack, the younger, and George, the elder.
Thursday, January 13, 2011
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Thursday, January 6, 2011
what to do with Dylan's texts? translate? but translate how? literallly? metaphorically? by a sensation excited in the person listening, in me to be precise? I have thought about this problem for some time and it seems that there is no one "way." Some images may work, but then dim, they lose their lustre/luster; others are seemingly compelling, but do they really correspond to "the idea"?
The idea is a moving target, witness the variations that Dylan extracts from the original text and the initial rendering of the music. While the text remains intact apparently, sound does not. Tempi, inflections, musicians, and so forth change over time and each change inspires new reflections and responses. She ages, he ages; the musician is not petrified nor is the listener--we hope--but living causes change and its effects are apparent in accumulated residues, in strata. And so it will be for those who hear a piece of music for the first time.
Translation is not the thing itself. a visual artist drawing a mountain does not move the mountain to the paper; she does not move the sitter to the canvas. Translation is a re-presentation of observation and perception, of idea above all. First came the idea or was it first came the sensation or first came a color or a note?
To take the line I selected, one that is beyond reproach, that is iconic, is so very difficult.
What agency set the choice in motion; it was a natural form observed. Nothing should be made of the choice of this plant. The image is not a translation but one of innumerable ways of translating this phrase. while it may work for me today, I do not know if I will perceive it the same way at a future date. Time alone will authenticate it or not.
Monday, January 3, 2011
Walking in the Commons this afternoon 3 January, 2011, Bess and I became aware, Bess first, of a commotion; as we approached a hawk flew off, holding a squirrel in its talons. The bird had torn the poor creature's thorax and tore out two organs. Interrupted it left the heart and liver behind as it took flight with its booty. Bess was not allowed to approach the remains.
our handsome sweet and stalwart Fala died on February 2, 1997, shortly before 4:00AM in the morning. When he died, his sister Kate wept as only a dog can; her howl was her farewell, and with that she woke us to tell us what had happened, to express her grief and to let the pack know that a terrible event had transpired. After Fala died Kate searched for him in the great field, where she had seen him the day previous to his death. She looked back to where we had gotten out of the car and then systematically crossed the field, marking it so that Fala could find his way home or at least to alert him to her presence. She used a rectangular schema, walking around the field's perimeter and then dividing it into smaller rectangles. Never did she forget him in the almost two more years that she survived him. Though not a blood sibling, indeed she was about one year older, they bonded and cared for one another and played joyfully together. Her loss was ours as well. I drew him the night before he died, a task that was so difficult to do; a body bloated with cancers that discomforted him enormously. Had we but known then what we know now, his suffering would have been brief. But nonetheless we were all so attached to him, with Wiggy, as we also called him, that we held onto him until death seized him in the early morning. We honor and remember him on this day, the day he was cremated.