Shui tiao ko tou
The moon — how old is it?
I hold the cup and ask the clear blue sky
But I don’t know, in palaces up there
When is tonight?
If only I could ride the wind and see —
But no, jade towers
So high up, might be too cold
For dancing with my shadow —
How could there, be like here?
Turning in the red chamber
Beneath the carved window
The brightness baffles sleep
But why complain?
The moon is always full at parting
A man knows grief and joy, separation and reunion
The moon, clouds and fair skies, waxing and waning —
And old story, this struggle for perfection!
Here’s to long life
This loveliness we share even a thousand miles apart!
From wiki: “Su Shi (traditional Chinese: 蘇軾; simplified Chinese: 苏轼; pinyin: Sū Shì), also known as Dong Po (January 8, 1037 – August 24, 1101) was an amazingly talented individual who lived in China, during the Song Dynasty (960 – 1279). He was an esteemed writer, revered poet, innovative painter, and a respected calligrapher, as well as being a pharmacologist, gastronome, and statesman of the Song Dynasty: he was a major personality of the Song era. Su Shi was an important figure in Song Dynasty politics, aligning himself with Sima Guang and others, against the New Policy party lead by Wang Anshi. Su Shi was famed as an essayist, and his prose writings lucidly contribute to the the understanding of topics such as 11th century Chinese travel literature or detailed information on the contemporary Chinese iron industry. His poetry has a long history of popularity and influence in China, Japan, and other areas in the near vicinity; and, his poetry is well known in the English speaking parts of the world through the translations by Arthur Waley, among others. In terms of the arts, Su Shi has some claim to being “the pre-eminent personality of the eleventh century.” image: Lang Ching-shan
Don’t touch me! Don’t question me! Don’t speak to me! Stay with me!
~Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot
Self-portrait at the Easel, 1532
From Wiki: “Sofonisba Anguissola (also spelled Anguisciola) (c. 1532 – November 16, 1625) was an Italian painter of the Renaissance.
Sofonisba Anguissola was born in Cremona, Lombardy around 1532, the oldest of seven children, six of whom were daughters. Her father, Amilcare Anguissola, was a member of the Genoese minor nobility. Sofonisba’s mother, Bianca Ponzone, was also of an affluent family of noble background.
Her aristocratic father made sure that Sofonisba and her sisters received a well-rounded education that included the fine arts. Anguissola was fourteen years old when her father sent her with her sister Elena to study with Bernardino Campi, a respected portrait and religious painter of the Lombard school, also from Cremona, Sofonisba’s home town. When Campi moved to another city, Sofonisba continued her studies with the painter Bernardino Gatti (known as Il Sojaro). Sofonisba’s apprenticeship with local painters set a precedent for women to be accepted as students of art.
Dates are uncertain, but Anguissola probably continued her studies under Gatti for about three years (1551–1553).
Sophonisba’s most important early work is Bernardino Campi Painting Sofonisba Anguissola (c. 1550 Pinacoteca Nazionale, Siena). The double portrait depicts her art teacher in the act of painting a portrait of her.
In 1554, at age twenty-two, Sofonisba traveled to Rome, where she spent her time sketching various scenes and people. While in Rome, she met Michelangelo through the help of another painter who knew her work well. Meeting Michelangelo was a great honor for Sofonisba and she had the benefit of being informally trained by the great master.
When he made a request for her to draw a weeping boy, Sofonisba drew ‘Child bitten by a crab’ and sent it back to Michelangelo, who immediately recognized her talent (this sketch would continue to be discussed and copied for the next fifty years among artists and the aristocracy).
Michelangelo subsequently gave Anguissola sketches from his notebooks to draw in her own style and offered advice on the results. For at least two years Sofonisba continued this informal study, receiving substantial guidance from Michelangelo.
Experiences as a female artist
Although Sofonisba enjoyed much more encouragement and support than the average woman of her day, her social class did not allow her to transcend the constraints of her sex. Without the possibility of studying anatomy or drawing from life (it was considered unacceptable for a lady to view nudes), she could not undertake the complex multi-figure compositions required for large-scale religious or history paintings.
Instead, she searched for possibilities of a new style of portraiture, with subjects set in informal ways. Self-portraits and members of her own family were her most frequent subjects, as seen in such paintings as Self-Portrait (1554, Kunsthistoriches Museum, Vienna), The Chess Game (1555, Muzeum Narodowe, Poznań), that depicts three of her sisters Lucia, Minerva and Europa, and Portrait of Amilcare, Minerva and Asdrubale Anguissola (c. 1557-1558, Nivaagaards Malerisambling, Niva, Denmark).” via: wiki
Self-portrait with Bernardino Campi, 1550
It is night.
Rain pelts the roof.
The soul awakens
to a flooded Earth—
a sea of storm
In that short moment,
shifting lines and shapes,
Before the passing moment tilts
and falls to melancholy,
in quiet raindrops.
This poem was written in Saigon in 1965. It was raining hard. There was so much death and killing, so much destruction. And yet in one moment, I could hear the laughter in a raindrop. ~Thich Nhat Hanh
From: Call Me by My True Names: The Collected Poems of Thich Nhat Hanh
Please Call Me by My True Names
Don’t say that I will depart tomorrow —
even today I am still arriving.
Look deeply: every second I am arriving
to be a bud on a Spring branch,
to be a tiny bird, with still-fragile wings,
learning to sing in my new nest,
to be a caterpillar in the heart of a flower,
to be a jewel hiding itself in a stone.
I still arrive, in order to laugh and to cry,
to fear and to hope.
The rhythm of my heart is the birth and death
of all that is alive.
I am the mayfly metamorphosing
on the surface of the river.
And I am the bird
that swoops down to swallow the mayfly.
I am the frog swimming happily
in the clear water of a pond.
And I am the grass-snake
that silently feeds itself on the frog.
I am the child in Uganda, all skin and bones,
my legs as thin as bamboo sticks.
And I am the arms merchant,
selling deadly weapons to Uganda.
I am the twelve-year-old girl,
refugee on a small boat,
who throws herself into the ocean
after being raped by a sea pirate.
And I am the pirate,
my heart not yet capable
of seeing and loving.
I am a member of the Politburo,
with plenty of power in my hands.
And I am the man who has to pay
his “debt of blood” to my people
dying slowly in a forced-labor camp.
My joy is like Spring, so warm
it makes flowers bloom all over the Earth.
My pain is like a river of tears,
so vast it fills the four oceans.
Please call me by my true names,
so I can hear all my cries and my laughter at once,
so I can see that my joy and pain are one.
Please call me by my true names,
so I can wake up,
and so the door of my heart
can be left open,
the door of compassion.
~Thich Nhat Hanh
Call Me By My True Names: The Collected Poems of Thich Nhat Hanh - image: Gregory Colbert