A pause for an epigram

“Toute vue des choses qui n’est pas étrange est fausse.”

– Paul Valéry

Painters, with favorite works

  1. Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio – Conversione di San Paolo
  2. Edward Burne-Jones – The Beguiling of Merlin
  3. Gustave Caillebotte – Les orangers
  4. Francis Bacon – Study after Velázquez’s Portrait of Pope Innocent X
  5. William Blake – The Ancient of Days

“They tossed him, the portrait, from the tallest of the buildings;
And the sea devoured the canvas and the brush
As though his subject had decided to remain a prayer.”

– John Ashbery, from “The Painter”

String Quartets

  1. String Quartet No. 15 by Ludwig van Beethoven
  2. Quatuor à cordes en fa mageur by Maurice Ravel
  3. String Quartet No. 19 in C Major, Dissonance by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
  4. String Quartet No. 8 by Dmitri Shostakovich
  5. Quatuor à cordes en mi mineur Op. 121 by Gabriel Fauré

“The string quartet is pre-eminently the dialectical form of instrumental music, the one most naturally suited to the activity of ‘logical disputation’ or, to take another definition of dialectic, of ‘inquiry into truth’. The reason for this fitness is in no way obscure. Given four parts to play with, a composer working in anything like the classical key system has enough lines to fashion a full argument, but none to spare for padding. The closely related characters of his four instruments, moreover, while they cover in combination an ample compass of pitch, do not lend themselves to indulgence in purely colouristic effects. … the writer of string quartets must perforce concentrate on the bones of musical logic.”

– Bernard Jacobson

Psychologists

1. Ernest Becker
2. Dr. Michael J. Keenan
3. Otto Rank
4. Karl Jaspers
5. Rollo May

“The headshrinkers
They want everything”

– Radiohead, from “My Iron Lung”

Christian Theologian/Philosopher, with favorite works

  1. Paul Tillich – Systematic Theology, Volume Two: Existience and The Christ
  2. N. T. Wright – The Resurrection of the Son of God
  3. Jonathan Edwards – An Unpublished Essay On The Trinity
  4. David Bently Hart – The Beauty of the Infinite
  5. Peter Leithart – A Son To Me: An Exposition of 1 & 2 Samuel

“Theologians
They don’t know nothing
About my soul
Oh, they don’t know

They fill my heart with little things
And my life with change
Oh, in so many ways
I find more missing every day”

– Jeff Tweedy, from “Theologians”

Ballet Score

  1. Ромео и Джульетта by Sergei Prokofiev
  2. Spartak by Aram Khachaturian
  3. Спящая красавица by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
  4. Le Sacre du printemps by Igor Stravinsky
  5. Rodeo by Aaron Copland

“The ballet, in which half-naked women make voluptuous
movements, twisting themselves into various sensual wreath-
ings, is a lewd performance.”

– Leo Tolstoy, from What Is Art?

Three Days: Part Three

myrrhbearers

“Not The Empty Tomb” by R. S. Thomas

Not the empty tomb
but the uninhabited
cross. Look long enough
and you will see the arms
put on leaves. Not a crown
of thorns, but a crown of flowers
haloing it, with a bird singing
as though perched on paradise’s threshold.

We have over-furnished
our faith. Our churches
are as limousines in the procession
towards heaven. But the verities
remain: a de-nuclearised
cross, uncontaminated
by our coinage; the chalice’s
ichor; and one crumb of bread
on the tongue for the bird-like
intelligence to be made tame by.

Three Days: Part Two

the-harrowing-of-hell-or-christ-in-limbo-from-the-large-passion-1510
from Inferno Canto IV.52-63 (Sayers’ translation)
“When I was newly in this state,” said he,
   “I saw One come in majesty and awe,
   And on his head were crowns of victory.
Our great first father’s spirit He did withdraw,
   And righteous Abel, Noah who built the ark,
   Moses who gave and who obeyed the Law,
King David, Abraham the Patriarch,
   Israel with his father and generation,
   Rachel, for whom he did such deeds of mark,
With many another of His chosen nation;
   These did He bless; and know, that ere that day
   No human soul had ever seen salvation.”

Three Days: Part One

Baskin_Leonard-The_Crow

“Crow Blacker Than Ever” by Ted Hughes

When God, disgusted with man,
Turned towards heaven.
And man, disgusted with God,
Turned towards Eve,
Things looked like falling apart.

But Crow       Crow
Crow nailed them together,
Nailing heaven and earth together–

So man cried, but with God’s voice,
And God bled, but with man’s blood.

Then Heaven and earth creaked at the joint
Which became gangrenous and stank–
A horror beyond redemption.

The agony did not diminish.

Man could not be man, nor God God.

The agony

Grew.

Crow

Grinned

Crying: ‘This is my creation,’

Flying the black flag of himself.