Monday, July 19, 2021

Early morning in July with almost finished mandala / "... the enormous invulnerable beauty ..." / Painting Dream / The horse I drew when I was 5 years old / "Wild Things Run Fast"


This early morning I suddenly remembered a poem I first read when I was 18 or 19 years old, at which time I had determined that I was decidedly not religious.  From that poem I understood that one does not need to be a religious person to live gratefully and fully in the presence of beauty.  My desire all those years ago was to become an artist.  

I remember reading this that Hokusai wrote when he was about the same age I am now.  It was early in my blogging days, when I was 57 years old, that I came across that quote.  Although I had experienced an extraordinary amount of creative energy for art work and poetry during the 1980s and early 1990s, I could no longer find it in me after the abrupt death of my mother in December 1994.  There were brief periods where I thought the energy for art work had returned.  

It is occurring to me today that my creative energy was totally channeled into blogging until September 2014 when something prompted me to do what my mother had done when she was about the age I was in 2014.  Inspired by Carl Jung, my mother began a series of mandalas.

This morning, as I look at my almost-finished mandala, #62 in a series, I have found an expanded version of that quote by Hokusai and an unexpected gratitude to my mother for inspiring in me a love of art and books and the beauty of the world:

"From the age of six I had a mania for drawing the shapes of things. When I was fifty I had published a universe of designs. But all I have done before the age of seventy is not worth bothering with. At seventy-five I'll have learned something of the pattern of nature, of animals, of plants, of trees, birds, fish and insects. When I am eighty you will see real progress. At ninety I shall have cut my way deeply into the mystery of life itself. At one hundred, I shall be a marvelous artist. At 110, everything I create; a dot, a line, will jump to life as never before. To all of you who are going to live as long as I do, I promise to keep my word. I am writing this in my old age. I used to call myself Hokusai, but today I sign myself The Old Man Mad About Drawing."


This is the poem I read in 1967 or 1968:


That Nova was a moderate star like our good sun; it stored no
doubt a little more than it spent
Of heat and energy until the increasing tension came to the
Of a new chemistry; then what was already flaming found a new
manner of flaming ten-thousandfold
More brightly for a brief time; what was a pin-point fleck on a
sensitive plate at the great telescope's
Eye-piece now shouts down the steep night to the naked eye,
a nine-day super-star.

                                        It is likely our moderate
Father the sun will some time put off his nature for a similar
glory. The earth would share it; these tall
Green trees would become a moment's torches and vanish, the
oceans would explode into invisible steam,
The ships and the great whales fall through them like flaming
meteors into the emptied abysm, the six mile
Hollows of the Pacific sea-bed might smoke for a moment. Then
the earth would be like the pale proud moon,
Nothing but vitrified sand and rock would be left on earth. This
is a probable death-passion
For the sun's planets; we have no knowledge to assure us it may
not happen at any moment of time.

Meanwhile the sun shines wisely and warm, trees flutter green
in the wind, girls take their clothes off
To bathe in the cold ocean or to hunt love; they stand laughing
in the white foam, they have beautiful
Shoulders and thighs, they are beautiful animals, all life is beautiful.
We cannot be sure of life for one moment;
We can, by force and self-discipline, by many refusals and a few
assertions, in the teeth of fortune assure ourselves
Freedom and integrity in life or integrity in death. And we know
that the enormous invulnerable beauty of things
Is the face of God, to live gladly in its presence, and die without
grief or fear knowing it survives us.

-- (John) Robinson Jeffers, (1887-1962), Poet, writer; born in Pittsburgh, Pa. He attended six colleges and universities in Europe and America, studying medicine and forestry among other subjects.


Painting Dream (2000 -- 50 years old)

No one can paint this desire.
No one can paint this forgiveness.
Her hand drawing his.
His hand drawing hers.
They carry silence between them
as if it were a newborn child.
In my dream we were an old man and an old woman walking by the ocean.
Who painted this desire?
Who painted this forgiveness? 


I remember looking up from drawing and hearing my mother praising me for this drawing of a horse I made when I was 5 years old.  I am grateful that she saved it.


37paddington said...

A wealth of treasures here today. That horse you drew at five shows extraordinary artistic talent. I have always thought that the truest art is the life we make, how we live, and that there is a difference between being religious and being spiritual. You, I think, are a spiritual artist, sharing your art here.

Pixie said...

Thank you for that lovely quote by Hokusai. I am hopeful I will have time to pursue art after I retire, hopeful that I don't fill up my days with useless things to do, hopeful that I sit down and try.

Amanda is a lovely name.

Anonymous said...

I love reading your stories, what and who inspires you, and then seeing your art. Your early drawing of that horse is so beautiful.

Sabine said...

That's a gorgeous horse.