May 2013


 

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When you are old and grey and full of sleep,

And nodding by the fire, take down this book,

And slowly read, and dream of the soft look

Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;

How many loved your moments of glad grace,

And loved your beauty with love false or true,

But one man loved the pilgrim Soul in you,

And loved the sorrows of your changing face;

And bending down beside the glowing bars,

Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled

And paced upon the mountains overhead

And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.

William Butler Yeats, When You Are Old

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The art critic Roger Fry, writing in 1919, discussed two lands of seeing – or, rather, as he put it, the difference between seeing and looking. Seeing is a useful skill that nature has given us. It has to do with the use that appearances have for the business of living. In other words it is functional. We extract key information as rapidly as possible from this kind of seeing.

Looking, on the other hand, seems less obviously to have any utility value. It is what appreciative viewers of art do, and the non-utilitarian character of such looking leads Fry to say that ‘biologically speaking, art is a blasphemy. Why might the making and sharing of art be an offence against biology? For Fry  it is because it serves no obvious purpose. Looking, writes Fry, is a type of vision that is ‘quite distinct from the practical vision of our instinctive life’. When we look, our vision ‘dwells much more consciously and deliberately’ upon the object in front of us.

Fry thinks children have a special capacity for this, because they have not yet fully learnt the more defensive techniques of mere ‘seeing’. They look at things, he says, with cpassion’.

Ten outstanding high achievers were asked to sum up their particular approach to leadership – the core message that they wanted to share with others and this is what emerged:

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1. The great don’t need to play games

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2.Leadership comes through respect

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3.Go for the people, not the position

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4. If you don’t enjoy it, don’t do it

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5. Know what makes your workers tick

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6 Do what you enjoy.  Don’t plan.  Be flexible

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7. Life doesn’t make sense if you don’t love what you do

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8. Self-belief and an ability to think differently are vital

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9. Don’t just go for the money

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10. Weather the criticism, share the bouquets

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So much struggling –

realising that I need a balance

between reaching out and reaching in.

I need to do some things just for me,

like paint and play,

and read and build sandcastles.

I need to stop

for a long time,

to think about that.

Where did I miss it? Lose it?

For joy is the centre of ministry,

Joy should precede ministry,

nurture it and fulfil it.

But I am so intense about ministry,

and take it so solemnly

(as if I were responsible for it)

that I become weighed down

by its ups and downs,

its disappointments and failures.

I suffocate joy with

seriousness..,..

I imagine everything depends on me –

when everything is God’s business,

and God has already taken care of

all her creation

and all her people,

We are only to walk with each other,

be with each other,

love each other.

God’s is the healing,

the growing

and the fulfilling.

When I lose perspective

and imagine everything,

(or most things)

revolving round myself,

I make myself

a little god,

and lose my joy.

For I was never made

to be a little god – only

to be loved by the Great God.

 

 

Perhaps I am too busy trying

to love other people instead of

learning to love myself.

When I can do that

I might begin to understand

how great God’s

love is.

When I go through

darkness, heaviness and anxiety,

it is God’s invitation for me to stop

looking outwards and start looking

inwards and be loving and gentle

with myself.

I am called to minister for my own joy.

When my joy diminishes, so does my ministry.

When I have fun and enjoy myself God does!

Then I am most like God – – who is joy!

Edwina Gately

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let us lie upon the sky

and look upon the grass

where the rain drops grow

and the dew drops listen

 

on the newly mown clouds

falls the shadow of the hills

where the white flowers fly

and the black birds blossom

 

the roots of the apple tree are waving in the breeze

whilst the twigs and branches flutter through the dull brown earth

an enterprising slug writes his name up on the sky

and an aeroplane trails slime upon an upturned rock

 

upside down and downside up

inside out and outside in

let the birdsong pause and the silence call

for you’ve not seen nothing till you’ve seen it all

 

deirdre burton

 

 

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The essay was originally published in 1933. The English translation was published in 1977.

Much shorter than the author’s novels, this book is a small meditative work of 73 pages, of which 59 are the essay itself.

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The essay consists of 16 sections that discuss traditional Japanese aesthetics in contrast with change. Comparisons of light with darkness are used to contrast Western and Asian cultures. The West, in its striving for progress, is presented as continuously searching for light and clarity, while the subtle and subdued forms of oriental art and literature are seen by Tanizaki to represent an appreciation of shadow and subtlety. In places the work is strongly metaphorical. In addition to contrasting light and dark, Tanizaki further considers the layered tones of various kinds of shadows and their power to reflect low sheen materials like gold embroidery, patina and cloudy crystals. In addition, he distinguishes between the values of gleam and shine.

The text presents personal reflections on topics as diverse as architecture and its fittings, crafts, finishes, jade, food, cosmetics and mono no aware (the art of impermanence).

Tanizaki explores in close description the use of space in buildings, lacquerware by candlelight, monastery toilets and women in the dark of a brothel. The essay acts as “a classic description of the collision between the shadows of traditional Japanese interiors and the dazzling light of the modern age.

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All the others translate: the painter sketches

A visible world to love or reject;

Rummaging into his living, the poet fetches

The images out that hurt and connect.

From Life to Art by painstaking adaption

Relying on us to cover the rift;

Only your notes are pure contraption,

Only your song is an absolute gift.

 

Pour out your presence, O delight, cascading

The falls of the knee and the weirs of the spine,

Our climate of silence and doubt invading;

You, alone, alone, O imaginary song,

Are unable to say an existence is wrong,

And pour out your forgiveness like a wine.

 

W.H.Auden, Composer

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