EPIPHANY … (REMEMBERING ELIOT’S MAGI)

T.S. Eliot wrote his 43-line poem “Journey of the Magi” in 1927.
(see – https://allpoetry.com/The-Journey-Of-The-Magi)
Eliot’s dramatic monologue has been a favourite poem of mine for a long time.
This piece is my (not so great) tribute to his (great) poem – I could manage only 30 lines of third person writing.
Epiphany is celebrated on January 6th this year (2020)

A hard time they had of it sure.
A cold coming and more.
Greeted by Herod badly crowned
With fear and greed and plot.
Through sand and swamp and rocky ground;
Hunger, thirst, chill and hot;
Spear, sword, fist, steel, snarling faces.
Rich man, beggar man, thief;
Hardest people, hardest places –
Cold coming filled with grief.

The house was lit with heaven’s light
Warm welcome and delight –
Fireside hearth, talk, food and joy.
They knelt and offered gifts
To teenage mum and toddling boy.
Then home and slept in shifts.
Kept watch beside, behind, ahead
Lest murder come to slay.
They wanted hope but only dread
Their shadow on the way.

Years later when the boy was grown
Could they their fears atone?
Retrace the way, that hard, hard path?
Could they, old, walk that track,
To find the grace that killed the wrath?
To see the heavens crack,
The Voice, the dove, the Spirit flies.
The waters at his feet,
The fire at his head and eyes
Makes all the pain so sweet.

Ant Fox.

THEY BREED LIKE RABBITS.

“Hmmm” mused Rabbit, “Why aren’t we rabbits good at more things?”

“Well” Chair answered, “You rabbits are very good at breeding.”

“I was musing to myself, not to you” Rabbit snorted,
“Besides, you can’t give an opinion – you’re a chair. Your only purpose is to be sat upon.”

“That may be so” came the reply,
“But while people are sitting they think, and thinking is catching.
You rabbits should try it.”

“We think … we think” said Rabbit.

“You only think about sex. You are at it day and night … in fields, down holes – talk about ‘Don’t Litter Australia!” Chortled Chair.
“Breed, breed, breed … it’s all you lot do!”

“Well, smarty seat” sneered Rabbit,
“If we breed so much, why aren’t there more Rabbits? Why isn’t every living creature a Rabbit? Why isn’t the world chocker-block full of bunnies?”

“Ha” said the Chair,
“It’s because you are only good at breeding – you are absolute crap at economy.”

“Wot?”

“There are never enough resources to support all these litters of bunnies – It’s a battle to survive. Only the smartest and toughest rabbits, or the most coddled, survive. You should read Darwin” said Chair.

“I think you’re talking through your seat” replied Rabbit.

“It’s all true” laughed Chair,
“You bunnies are just a big bunch of miserable fuc….”

“Ooo, you are wickered!” Interupted Rabbit.

The Awful Artful Case Of The Missing Mojo

I’m bored with my landscape impressions, expressions, and abstractions.
My oil paints and canvasses don’t have that tempting siren call they should have.
No need to bind me to a mast with my ears plugged with wax to stop me answering the call to spend my precious time doodling and splurging in my studio.
My brushes and knives sit idle. My turps evaporates alone.

It’s a post-mid-life-crisis… surely that’s what it is – introspective ennui.

The last exhibition was praised by a good number of people, both in words and by a few sales.

Yes, but for me, seeing my paintings hanging together was something of a let-down
– it’s not that they were poor paintings – people assure me that they are good, some “very good”.
It’s just that they made me feel a bit 😑
(flat, bored, disappointed, unsatisfied.)

An experienced artist friend tells me that this is normal. It’s the usual feeling experienced by artists after an exhibition, and it’s good news.

This certainly has been my experience after the few exhibitions in which I have participated.
But “good news”?
Maybe, maybe not.
Perhaps this let-down is the thing that keeps the creative juices flowing.
I hope so.

Really, I want to get on with painting new works, but I just can’t get my mojo working.
The blues are all very well, but I should use the yellows and reds too.

I’m thinking I should explore semi-figurative abstractions more like this one from 2016.

The Mamre Incident’ c 31X24cm (painted surface) – oil on Arches Oil Paper – Ant Fox 2016

… or even like this (but better, of course 🙂 )

Trees and Rocks … from my sketch pad – sometime in the 1970s

Or am I whining about nothing?
Just wasting my time?

Not A Dirty Story.

Currently on Australian TV (and probably on non-Australian TV) there is an advertisement for a popular brand hand sanitiser where two small boys are refused service at the icecream van until they have sanitised their hands.

Am I the only person uncomfortable with this?

In the coffee shops and supermarkets I see young mothers cleansing the kids with these chemicals. I see people wiping their cafe tabletops with impregnated sterilising cloths before they sit down and order. Homes stock up on anti-bacterial fluids and sprays.

It’s a dangerous thing, y’know.

I am certainly not an anti-vaccination person – exactly the opposite in fact …please VACCINATE YOUR KIDS! – it is important for them.
But please think before you stop them playing in the mud, playing with the dogs, and getting dirty.
That play and dirt is a kind of natural vaccination, it’s a resistance builder.
Hand sanitisers over-used do the opposite.

Before I became a Flâneur, Artist, Photoist, and retired idler, I worked not only in the church, but in science too – for more than 20 years.
I have studied biology and microbiology – I know stuff (OK – not as much as I did, but enough).

If you manage to knock out 99.5% of harmful bacteria from your cooking surfaces, what do you have left?
0.5% of the population of those harmful bacteria, that’s what.
The thing is, that 0.5% of bacteria are the ones that are strong enough to resist the killing agent with which you’ve hit them.

By doing this continually, as the manufacturers suggest, you are weeding out the weak bugs, who form the majority, and selecting the strong ones – the resistant ones
… you are line breeding a population of strong pathogens
– you are aiding the evolution of strong bugs!

Remember – 0.5% of 1,000,000 bacteria is still a big crowd of 5000 bacteria whose population may double every 20 minutes or so
… that means that in less than 3 hours you’ve got more than you started with
– but they are the strong ones.

I’m not saying “Don’t use cleaning products”.
I’m suggesting that none of us over-use cleaning products.

Don’t be scared.
Look after yourselves, your children, and your homes
– but please don’t get carried away.

THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE BEAN

Beans and Brews

She slid on her blue leather sandals – she needs no winged heels.
He pulled on his mustard yellow waistcoat of victory – none can stand against it.
She cried out “It’s time for coffee!”
He raised his fist defiantly to the heavens – “Give me coffee, or give me death!” he growled.
“Coffee, Coffee” they cried in unison.
She shrilled “When do we want it?”
He screamed the reply “We want it now!”
They are the Fellowship of the Bean … no matter how tough the grind, they will rise to the challenge, they will lift the bowl, they will drink the cup to the very dregs!.
None can impede their journey into the gloom of the depths of the the darkest cafe.
Nothing will delay their urgent progress.
Neither flood nor fire, hail nor rain can slow these two in their heroic brew quest.
… … … but first they will pick up the dry cleaning.