Atomic Courtesy Collaboration – Jacobson

A collaboration with the talented Marcy Erb and featured on her eclectic blog Illustrated Poetry | Art by Marcy Erb

Illustrated Poetry

GIF by John Sapiro

Atomic Courtesy

To smash the simple atom
All mankind was intent.
Now any day
The atom may
Return the compliment.

Ethel Jacobson

collage of beige and red particles escaping from a black concentric reactor

John Sapiro and I began our email correspondence about this little poem and the history of the atomic age a few months ago, before the early August anniversaries of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but amidst the early chaos of the pandemic. It seemed almost ridiculous to be talking about yet another threat to worldwide health, peace, and humanity and yet, it was the mood of the day. I couldn’t find an exact date for Ethel Jacobson’s poem, although it is in a book I have that has a copyright date of 1952. And so our conversation centered mostly around the cold war of the 1950s and 60s but veered around widely. We talked about the physicist Richard Feynman and his…

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The Heart wants what it wants

cf. Edward Hopper, Nighthawks (1942) and Maclean’s Magazine (1971) and letter from Emily Dickinson to Mary Bowles, Spring, 1862
(Thank you to Marcy at Illustrated Poetry | Art by Marcy Erb for the quotation.)

If I Can’t Have You

“Take, oh take those lips away”

William Glackens, “At Mouquin’s” (1905)

Take, oh take those lips away,
That so sweetly were forsworn,
And those eyes: the breake of day,
Lights that do mislead the Morn;
But my kisses bring again, bring again,
Seals of love, but sealed in vain, sealed in vain.

Measure for Measure

Hurting Each Other

Baby Loves To Rock

cf. James Abbott McNeill Whistler, “Arrangement in Grey and Black No. 1”, also called “Portrait of the Artist’s Mother” (1871) and Maxell advertisement (1980) (edited and rearranged collage)

Baby Loves to Rock

impression

cf. Nancy Ford Cones, “Mending The Net” (ca. 1912) and John William Waterhouse, The Lady of Shalott (1888)

…trying as usual to get my picture of myself straight.

— Robert Lowell, Near the Unbalanced Aquarium
 
Dowland — Book of Songs, Book 1: “All ye whom love or fortune hath betrayed” (David Munderloh)

Mated

Everyone asks
Are we some kind of lovers?
Everyone asks what you’re doing with me
I know this is not what they want
They’re afraid you’ve been blinded
But I already know how it’s going to be

If anyone should ask
Say we’re mated
For as long as this life lasts
We are mated
Why else would you be here right now
And you know we’ll still be here tomorrow

Nobody else understands what I’m doing
Nobody else makes me act in this way
And because they can’t comprehend
What we mean to each other
They won’t leave you alone
So you know what to say…

 

Jacob Van Loo, An Amorous Couple (ca. 1650)

“Young John” (Painting By Arris Grace Hodge)

Source: Young John – arrisgracehodge / Saatchi Art: Young John Painting by Arris Grace Hodge

Artist: Arris Grace Hodge

Arris Grace Hodge | Saatchi Art

arrisgracehodge.wordpress.com

 

Young John Painting by Arris Grace Hodge

Arris Grace Hodge, “Young John” (Oil on Canvas, 18 H x 24 W x 2 in)

“Was there another Troy for her to burn?”

Why, what could she have done being what she is?
Was there another Troy for her to burn?

–from W.B. Yeats, No Second Troy

Don’t you know that
It’s our love that’s burning
Burning like a flame…

 

market-place-by-candlelight-1200
Petrus van Schendel, Market Place By Candlelight (1851)

“The day when I looked through the window…”

“My dearest fellow, This will not reach you till some time after our
wedding day, which as usual has taken me aback; but I mean to send you
a despatch on the day itself, and this is for dessert. Not that I think so
much of that day; if I had some other dates, I would think more of them:
that of the day when I looked through the window…”

—Letter from Robert Louis Stevenson to his Wife, Fanny, May 15, 1888

I never knew love before
Then came you…

 

at-the-window-1080

Konstantin Korovin, At The Window (1919)

“For no one in the world loves you…except for me.”

ALFREDO:
Oh, if I only had the right,
I’d be the most watchful guardian
Of your dear life.

VIOLETTA:
What a thing to say!
Who cares what happens to me?

ALFREDO:
(ardently)
For no one in the world loves you

VIOLETTA:
No one?

ALFREDO:
… except for me.

—Francesco Maria Piave (after Alexandre Dumas fils), “La Traviata”

I loved you since I knew you
I wouldn’t talk down to you
I have to tell you just how I feel
I won’t share you with another boy…

 
Nocturnal Street Scene Edit 1080

cf. Lesser Ury, Nocturnal Street Scene (ca. 1920)

Waiting (Sun And Moon)

cf. Anders Zorn, Summer Vacation (sketch for Summer Fun) (Watercolor) (1886)

…It’s the house where the woman
stands in the doorway
wearing the sun in her hair. The one
who’s been waiting
all this time.
The woman who loves you.
The one who can say,
“What’s kept you?”

–Raymond Carver, “Waiting” (excerpt) from All of Us: The Collected Poems (Alfred A. Knopf)

You are sunlight and I moon
Joined by the Gods of fortune
Midnight and high noon
Sharing the sky
We have been blessed, you and I…

Mezzo Cammin

cf. Caspar David Friedrich, Wanderer above the Sea of Fog (1818)

Half of my life is gone, and I have let
The years slip from me and have not fulfilled
The aspiration of my youth, to build
Some tower of song with lofty parapet…

Though, half-way up the hill, I see the Past
Lying beneath me with its sounds and sights,—
A city in the twilight dim and vast,
With smoking roofs, soft bells, and gleaming lights…

—Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Mezzo Cammin (excerpt)

You can’t be twenty on Sugar Mountain
Though you’re thinking that you’re leaving there too soon…

The Art Of Painting

cf. Vermeer, The Art of Painting

The others that are to follow me, the ties between me and them,
The certainty of others, the life, love, sight, hearing of others…
A hundred years hence, or ever so many hundred years hence, others will see them…
It avails not, time nor place—distance avails not,
I am with you, you men and women of a generation, or ever so many generations hence…
What is it then between us?
What is the count of the scores or hundreds of years between us?
Whatever it is, it avails not—distance avails not, and place avails not…

“Crossing Brooklyn Ferry” from “Leaves of Grass” (1891-92)

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

cf. Julius von Leypold, Wanderer in the Storm (1835) and Time Lapse Clouds Lightning Storm – YouTube

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

–Robert Frost, “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening”

“The music in my heart I bore, Long after it was heard no more.”

cf. Allen Tucker, Interior (edited) (1921)

I listened, motionless and still;
And, as I mounted up the hill,
The music in my heart I bore,
Long after it was heard no more.

–William Wordsworth, The Solitary Reaper (excerpt)

“First step: ask her out and treat her like a lady. Second step: tell her she’s the one you’re dreaming of. Third step: take her in your arms and never let her go.”

Charles Robert Leslie, Slender, with the Assistance of Shallow, Courting Anne Page, from “The Merry Wives of Windsor” (detail) (1825)

You gonna make a move you better make it now,
Don’t be afraid cause love will show you how–
You take that first step…

“Insist on yourself”

Insist on yourself; never imitate. Your own gift you can present every moment with the cumulative force of a whole life’s cultivation; but of the adopted talent of another, you have only an extemporaneous, half possession. That which each can do best, none but his Maker can teach him. No man yet knows what it is, nor can, till that person has exhibited it. Where is the master who could have taught Shakespeare? Where is the master who could have instructed Franklin, or Washington, or Bacon, or Newton? Every great man is a unique. The Scipionism of Scipio is precisely that part he could not borrow. Shakespeare will never be made by the study of Shakespeare. Do that which is assigned you, and you cannot hope too much or dare too much. There is at this moment for you an utterance brave and grand as that of the colossal chisel of Phidias, or trowel of the Egyptians, or the pen of Moses, or Dante, but different from all these…

–Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance

Ain’t no jive – it’s no surprise
You are born to synthesize…