cf. Videos by Life On Super 8 via Pexels
To smash the simple atom
All mankind was intent.
Now any day
The atom may
Return the compliment.
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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diaphane III: evolution (digital painting and animation by me)
cf. Toni Frissell, “Fashion model underwater…” (1939) and video by Relaxing_Guru via Pixabay (edited, modified, and combined recomposition)
The track curved and now it was going away from the sun which, as it sank lower, seemed to spread itself in benediction over the vanishing city where she had drawn her breath. He stretched out his hand desperately as if to snatch only a wisp of air, to save a fragment of the spot that she had made lovely for him. But it was all going by too fast now for his blurred eyes and he knew that he had lost that part of it, the freshest and the best, forever.
— F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
cf. photographs of Frances Benjamin Johnston by Frances Benjamin Johnston (ca. 1888)
cf. television commercial
cf. digitally edited, composited and sequenced Google Street View panoramic images
floating far away
cf. Courier Company, Theatrical poster (1899)
She is neither pink nor pale,
And she never will be all mine;
She learned her hands in a fairy-tale,
And her mouth on a valentine.
She has more hair than she needs;
In the sun ’tis a woe to me!
And her voice is a string of colored beads,
Or steps leading into the sea.
She loves me all that she can,
And her ways to my ways resign;
But she was not made for any man,
And she never will be all mine.
— Edna St. Vincent Millay, Witch-Wife
cf. Unknown, “Amateur Snapshot Album” (1890–92)
Many and many a verse I hope to write,
Before the daisies, vermeil rimm’d and white,
Hide in deep herbage; and ere yet the bees
Hum about globes of clover and sweet peas,
I must be near the middle of my story.
O may no wintry season, bare and hoary,
See it half finish’d: but let Autumn bold,
With universal tinge of sober gold,
Be all about me when I make an end.
And now, at once adventuresome, I send
My herald thought into a wilderness:
There let its trumpet blow, and quickly dress
My uncertain path with green, that I may speed
Easily onward, thorough flowers and weed.
— Keats, Endymion
cf. Popular Mechanics, 1974 (edited collage)
John Sapiro, “mobile” (2019)
cf. TV Commercial
PART II, Chapter X. Wherein is related the crafty device Sancho adopted to enchant The Lady Dulcinea, and other incidents as ludicrous as they are true.
— Cervantes, Don Quixote (Tr. Ormsby)
John Sapiro, “Sunflower Variation I” (Pastel/Digital)
cf. photograph and video via Pixabay (edited collage)
through the too many miles
and the too little smiles
I still remember you
From childhood’s hour I have not been
As others were—I have not seen
As others saw—I could not bring
My passions from a common spring—
From the same source I have not taken
My sorrow—I could not awaken
My heart to joy at the same tone—
— Edgar Allan Poe, “Alone” (excerpt)
Aegis Productions, “What Now!” via Prelinger Archives (ca. 1960s)
cf. video by Orpheline via Pixabay
Little Chandler remembered (and the remembrance brought a slight flush of pride to his cheek) one of Ignatius Gallaher’s sayings when he was in a tight corner:
“Half time now, boys,” he used to say light-heartedly. “Where’s my considering cap?”
— Joyce, A Little Cloud
cf. G. W. Thorne/London Stereoscopic Company, “The Bashful Lover” (hand-colored) (ca. 1860-1870)
cf. Home Movie
He was standing with her in the cold, looking in through a grated window at a man making bottles in a roaring furnace. It was very cold. Her face, fragrant in the cold air, was quite close to his; and suddenly he called out to the man at the furnace:
“Is the fire hot, sir?”
But the man could not hear with the noise of the furnace. It was just as well. He might have answered rudely.
— Joyce, The Dead
cf. Brief Encounter (1945)
cf. John Margotta, “La Galleria” (Orange Coast Magazine, 1986)
Ah! Vanitas Vanitatum! which of us is happy in this world? Which of us has his desire? or, having it, is satisfied?
— Thackeray, Vanity Fair
video by Coverr-Free-Footage via Pixabay
For spring-time is here! the summer is here! and what is this
in it and from it?
Thou, soul, unloosen’d—the restlessness after I know not what;
Come, let us lag here no longer, let us be up and away!
O if one could but fly like a bird!
O to escape, to sail forth as in a ship!
To glide with thee O soul, o’er all, in all, as a ship o’er the waters…
—Walt Whitman, Warble For Lilac-Time
cf. LIFE, 1937
cf. photographs via Unsplash and video (rain) by Vimeo-Free-Videos via Pixabay
Or is it only the breeze, in its listlessness
Travelling across the wet mead to me here,
You being ever dissolved to wan wistlessness,
Heard no more again far or near?
Thomas Hardy, The Voice (excerpt)
cf. Antoine-Émile Bourdelle, “Irene Millet” (1917) and Edouard Manet, A Bar at the Folies-Bergère (1882)
Yet diaries do, indirectly, lay claim to a certain kind of immortality, projecting a voice beyond the grave. Alice James’s diary was her dialogue with the future. It gave form to her sense of ironic detachment. And it created a communion in her lonely life…
—Jean Strouse, Alice James: A Biography
cf. Pompeo Batoni, “Portrait of a Young Man” (ca. 1760–65) and
image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images via Pixabay and
video by Felix_Broennimann (“Star, Long Exposure”) via Pixabay and
video by InspiredImages (“Lava Lamp”) via Pixabay
cf. video by Sixstringplayer via Pixabay (edited collage)
cf. The National Archives UK, “Helmets Are In, Road Safety poster” (1960s) and
GalaxyMikeDE – Night Sky Timelapse with ASI120 – YouTube
cf. Alfred Stieglitz, “An Icy Night” (1898) and video by CAMERAGE via Pixabay
Deep in the shady sadness of a vale
Far sunken from the healthy breath of morn,
Far from the fiery noon, and eve’s one star,
Sat gray-hair’d Saturn, quiet as a stone,
Still as the silence round about his lair;
Forest on forest hung about his head
Like cloud on cloud. No stir of air was there,
Not so much life as on a summer’s day
Robs not one light seed from the feather’d grass,
But where the dead leaf fell, there did it rest.
A stream went voiceless by, still deadened more
By reason of his fallen divinity
Spreading a shade: the Naiad ‘mid her reeds
Press’d her cold finger closer to her lips…
—Keats, Hyperion (excerpt)
cf. American Mutoscope and Biograph Co., “Foxy Grandpa and Polly in a little hilarity” (1902)
cf. Harry Wayne McMahan, “The Television Commercial” (1954)
cf. LIFE, 1964
Mrs. Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself…
–Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway
cf. LIFE, 1968
‘Tis far off
And rather like a dream than an assurance
That my remembrance warrants. Had I not
Four or five women once that tended me?
Thou hadst, and more, Miranda. But how is it
That this lives in thy mind? What seest thou else
In the dark backward and abysm of time?
—Shakespeare, The Tempest
cf. Joseph Wright of Derby, “Philosopher Giving a Lecture on the Orrery” (ca. 1768)
cf. video by Coverr-Free-Footage via Pixabay
And now, my Marian, from its shackles free,
My wearied fancy turns for ease to thee;
To thee, my compass through life’s varied stream,
My constant object, and unfailing theme…
—Warren Hastings, “Ode to his Wife” (Written in Patna, 1784)
O the mind, mind has mountains; cliffs of fall
Frightful, sheer, no-man-fathomed…
—Gerard Manley Hopkins, “No worst, there is none. Pitched past pitch of grief.” (excerpt)
“You weren’t so nice to me last night.”
“How could it have mattered then?”
Silence for a moment. Then:
“However — I want to see you.”
“I want to see you, too.”
“Suppose I don’t go to Southampton, and come into town this afternoon?”
“No — I don’t think this afternoon.”
“It’s impossible this afternoon. Various ——”
We talked like that for a while, and then abruptly we weren’t talking any longer. I don’t know which of us hung up with a sharp click, but I know I didn’t care. I couldn’t have talked to her across a tea-table that day if I never talked to her again in this world.
—F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
cf. Gjon Mili, “The Lindy Hop” (LIFE, 1943)
Library Company of Philadelphia, “Sugar with your tea Patrick?”
cf. Gjon Mili, “The Lindy Hop” (LIFE, 1943)
(Comes towards her and leans over the back of a chair.)
Are you fretting yourself, ma’am, about anything?
Don’t be. He was always like that, meandering off by himself somewhere. He is a curious bird, Master Richard, and always was. Sure there isn’t a turn in him I don’t know. Are you fretting now maybe because he does be in there (pointing to the study) half the night at his books? Leave him alone. He’ll come back to you again. Sure he thinks the sun shines out of your face, ma’am.
—James Joyce, Exiles
You got that radioaction
Brighter than a sunny day…
cf. Childe Hassam in Joseph Pennell, “Modern Illustration” (1895)
King Kong (1976)
Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, “Playing baseball…” (ca. 1910)
cf. Harry W. Watrous, The Passing of Summer (1912)
Back out of all this now too much for us,
Back in a time made simple by the loss
Of detail, burned, dissolved, and broken off…
–Robert Frost, Directive
Girl Shy (1924)
cf. LIFE (1943)
cf. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, “Landscape with dirt road and stone wall” (ca. 1900)
I loafe and invite my soul,
I lean and loafe at my ease observing a spear of summer grass…
—Whitman, Song Of Myself
Lady Bracknell: A hand-bag?
—Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest
cf. LIFE, 1969
“Son coeur est un luth suspendu;
Sitôt qu’on le touche il résonne.”
–epigraph from Edgar Allan Poe, The Fall of the House of Usher
cf. Edward Fletcher Stevens, “The American hospital of the twentieth century…” (1918) and
treetreeplant, Vancouver rainstorm August 29 2013 – YouTube
I sat on the edge of the bed
in the dark
spotlight sheet of rain traveling down the street
I remembered another night
when I looked at the rain
a long time ago
cf. D.A. Sigerist, “Two men and a woman dancing three hand reel” (ca. 1905)
LAVINIA: Stop! I want you to explain the telegram.
JULIA: Explain the telegram? What do you think, Alex?
ALEX: No, Julia, we can’t explain the telegram.
LAVINIA: I am sure that you could explain the telegram.
I don’t know why. But it seems to me that yesterday
I started some machine, that goes on working,
And I cannot stop it; no, it’s not like a machine—
Or if it’s a machine, someone else is running it.
But who? Somebody is always interfering …
I don’t feel free … and yet I started it …
–T. S. Eliot, The Cocktail Party