Sunday, 15 November 2009

Art for Art's Sake?

Blond Bather - Auguste Renoir

She exudes youth and fecundity but also a certain wisdom. Is this her knowledge or does it belong to Renoir? The upturned mouth and the heaviness of her eyes suggest inevitability, an acceptance.

She is in concord with her surroundings; has become one with the sea and the land. There on her rock, the short expanse of blue-black separates her from an accessible civilisation just beyond. But this distance does not exclude her.

To a child, she may be a mermaid. To a woman, hope. To a man, desire.

Have you ever seen a work of art that you must step into? Something so commanding that it consumes you and you lose yourself in its beauty, its devilment, its mysteriousness? You become for a while entwined, inseparable? You live in that space for a few seconds, minutes, hours? Your perception is altered or you glimpse another way of being? Of feeling?

Or maybe not? Because that is just as valid too, isn’t it?

Saturday, 7 November 2009

Remembrance Sunday

Remembrance Sunday

Cherish me not with regretful thought.
Of what might have been for you and me.
Remember me not with tears and sighs,
Like the poppies, I did not die.
My body bled a blood as red as any poppy that ever grew,
And from this mortal shell a soul was shed,
And on your loving thoughts it fed,
And bloomed again, as poppies will
Upon that field, where so much blood was spilled.
Remember me with love and joy,
For I am but still the boy you knew.
I lie not unknown, where the poppies grew,
I live now, even as you.

       Elizabeth Anderson 1927 - 2001

                                                        © Elizabeth Anderson 1958

With genuine thanks to Bill and Grahame Anderson, husband and son of Betty, from the website dedicated to her Memory, Betty's Poetry.

On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, the Armistice was signed, signalling an end to the Great War.

In the UK, on the second Sunday of each November at 11 O’clock, a two-minute silence is observed nationwide in remembrance of those who died in both the world wars of the Twentieth Century and many other conflicts besides. In 2009, with British soldiers dying weekly in Afghanistan, in particular, it seems that this tradition is set to continue and re-strengthen.

Elizabeth Anderson wrote underneath the original copy of this powerful poem, “Inspirational during the 2 minutes silence. Written immediately afterwards.”

A red poppy is worn as a symbol of this remembrance.

Do you wear a poppy? Do you observe the two minute silence? Maybe you attend a local Remembrance Service? Have you ever been to the Cenotaph on Remembrance Sunday? What was the atmosphere like and how did you feel? Why do you wear a poppy: do you agree with Government policy or are you merely showing solidarity with our soldiers? Are you anti-war? Do you shun the commemorations altogether? Perhaps you choose to remember in your own way, by lighting a white candle for peace, say? Do you give it any thought at all?

What do you think about the deployment of troops in the Middle East? Maybe you have friends or family in the Armed Forces? Perhaps you know someone who has fought in overseas wars or is still fighting? Are you in active service yourself? Do you have any stories of your own about being at war/living in a war zone either as a soldier or as his/her loved one?

What does Betty’s poem evoke in you?

Royal British Legion Website

Tuesday, 3 November 2009


Freud used to keep a pen and paper at his bedside to record his dreams. The unconscious mind unleashes clandestine thoughts, which then evaporate for all eternity or else they are reclassified and once again confined to that secluded place, to be revealed in cinematic elegance in another time and space.

What do you dream of? And on awakening do you discard that other life, concentrating instead on the practicalities of the day ahead? Or do you savour those night-time escapades and grasp on to threads of possibilities? Struggling to recollect fading fragments, does a sense of peace stroke your stirring body or do demons embed themselves into your wakefulness?