Friday, December 4, 2009

my soul that lingers

samuel bough "at barncluith, hamilton"

morning beginnings
can sometimes be rich,
melancholy unveilings.

the mirror of my awareness
fills
with questions and doubt.

lawrence alma tadema (in my studio)

there was a time
when i shied away
from melancholy.
it suggested a life poorly lived.

self indulgent.
careless.

i know now
that it is
a well-fount
of insight.

samuel john lamorna birch "river near loch laggan, invernesshire"



there, by the starlit fences,
the wanderer halts and hears
my soul that lingers sighing
about the glimmering weirs.

a.e. housman (from: "on moonlit heath and lonesome bank")



william mellor "on the lledr, north wales"

18 comments:

Jenny Stevning said...

There is a book I want to read. It is called Unattended Sorrow. The premise is that sorrow that is not dealt with doesn't go away. It just sits and waits its turn. I am all for feeling the sadness...the melancholy - not as a place to wallow but to dive into the darkness...feel it and let it go. The peace that comes after is ahhhhhh.
"Melancholy unveilings." I love that! 'Tis a great place to learn.
Beautiful post.

Kathleen said...

Oh, how beautiful, Steven.
How important and yet difficult to listen to that melancholia and glean its insights.
That, my friend, is true courage.

Richard Jesse Watson said...

Oh, man, Steven. This is a beautiful post. Melancholy can drag one down to the depths, or it can compel us to reach up for the light. I love that Mellor painting. It feels like a picture of the earth as a young woman and yet evokes that ancient continuum of life upon life in balance and harmony.

Golden West said...

What beautiful, autumnal paintings, Steven. Once I've seen their work, I always want to know more about them, so your teaching is reaching far beyond your classroom.

steven said...

hi jenny, i have to say that there's sorrow from my younger days that i was too young to understand and especially how to express. boys are - as you know - not really supposed to show sadness. i unlearned that piece as an adult but even now there are some very deep cultural ditches to jump when it comes to expressing sorrow or melancholy as a man. for me. sorrow is an opening that casts light on dark places. there are epiphanies, revelations, and insights that help me place feelings of "loss" in context of the broader workings of this plane of existence. thankyou for this thoughtful comment and especially for the mention of the book - which i will pursue myself!!! steven

steven said...

you're so right kathleen about the courage required to look melancholy right into its very presence and take from it the knowledge that lies there. a lot of people shy away from it or pretend it isn't there, or put "on a brave face" in order to not know what's there. i get why they might choose that. it's very tough at times. but like all risks, it bears fruit of a kind that makes it hard to ignore when future opportunities of a similar kind arise. steven

Linda Sue said...

Yes, melancholia, Seems to be a genetic trait- I come from a long line of them- poets,artists, railroad workers and Lincoln ...Melancholia can be like resting the dough before it becomes a golden loaf- essential, really. The down part of the up.Had Abe been less emo I wonder if accomplishments would have been made, ugly as they were- profound as they were...melancholia is like being blonde- nothing one can do about it- maybe prozac - dye hair autumn brown but really, underneath it all it is a genetic thing. Just part of who some of us are.

Coastcard said...

I love the work of Lamorna Birch - both Scottish and Cornish views. I have visited Lamorna Cove in Cornwall many times. Great post, Steven.

The Weaver of Grass said...

alma tadema and housman in one post, steven, what more could I ask for - two of my favourites.

staceyjwarner said...

melancholy means change is close...

much love

ellen abbott said...

steven, you are my own personal art museum. Thank you for today's exhibit.

steven said...

hi richard jesse watson! thankyou so much for your kind comment. i too love that mellor painting. i love all of these paintings because they speak to me of something deep inside that gives me access to my england. the one i never lived in but which is deeply ingrained in my psyche. or as my dad would have said "my genetic memory!" steven

steven said...

golden west - one of the beauties of sharing this blog is that i am compelled to learn more so i can shre more. it is a really lovely process for me and i am glad that you enjoy your visits. really i am!!! steven

steven said...

linda sue - i think that people hide from melancholy because it's just not cool or good or socially alright to feel. popular culture is really about feeling good and not hurtin'. so i welcome it into my life in the same way as i welcome winter, the grey-scale, the blues - it's a place to go when the time's right. a place to open my eyes and see some more of life's grand pageant!!! steven

steven said...

hey ellen - what a role for an artist!! i love this work - it keeps me aware of what has gone before and really honestly i'd pass it over for what's current. but there's a frame here in the blog that allows me to celebrate what good works have gone before. so it works! steven

steven said...

weaver i love that so many of my readers are eclectic and thrive on the artwork and writing that i find. thanks so much. have a lovely evening in the dale. steven

steven said...

stacey j. i like that and i know what you mean. it's an intuitive letting go that frames the sense of loss in melancholy. cool. steven

steven said...

caroline isn't birch's work gorgeous and evocative?!!!! steven