Giving Thanks. Dark though it is

 

 

Thanks

 

William S. Merwin, 1927-2019, American

from Migration: New and Selected Poems (Copper Canyon Press, 2005)

 

 

 

Listen

 

 

 

with the night falling

 

 

 

 

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Photo taken in Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia by the Woman who posts Poems on the Front of her House, 2018

 

 

 

                                 we are saying thank you

 

 

we are stopping on the bridges to bow from the railings

 

 

 

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The Brooklyn Bridge (Variation on an Old Theme), 1939, oil on canvas.  Joseph Stella, 1877-1946, American.  Whitney Museum of (North) American Art, NY

 

 

 

 

we are running out of the glass rooms

 

 

 

 

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Windows in the contemporary galleries at MOMA, NY taken through a prism, 2016 

 

 

 

with our mouths full of food

 

 

 

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Glass case with pies, 1962, burlap soaked in plaster, painted with enamel, with pie tins, in glass and metal case. 

Claes Oldenburg, born 1929,  American. National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC

 

 

                          to look at at the sky

 

 

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A scene from a 5-channel video installation, The Refusal of Time, by William Kentridge,  at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2012.  William Kentridge, born 1955, South African.

Its subjects were time and space, and the legacy of colonialism and the industrial revolution.

 

 

 

and say thank you

 

 

 

 

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As below

 

 

 

we are standing by the water thanking it

 

 

 

 

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Detail of State Park, 1946, tempera on composition board.  Jared French, 1905-1988, American.  Whitney Museum of (North) American Art

 

 

standing by the windows looking out

 

 

 

 

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Window, 1968, oil on canvas. 

Gerhart Richter, German born 1932.  Hirshhorn Museum, Washington, DC

 

 

 

in our directions

 

 

 

back from a series of hospitals 

 

 

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Modern Day Miracle, 1988, acrylic on canvas.

  Robert Colescott, 1925-2009, American.  On exhibit in 2019 at the Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia in 30 Americans, painting from the Rubell Family Collection

 

 

                      back from  a mugging

 

 

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 Die.  American People Series #20, oil on canvas, 1967.  Faith Ringgold, born 1930, American.  MOMA, NY

 

 

 

after funerals we are saying thank you

 

 

 

 

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Woman carrying A Coffin;  c.1936  oil and Duco on panel. 

Luis Arenal Bastar, 1909-1985, Mexican.  On exhibit at Philadelphia Museum’s exhibition:  Paint the Revolution:  Mexican Modernism, 1910-1950.  2016

 

 

 

 

after the news of the dead

whether or not we knew them we are

 

 

 

 

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Threnody II, 1987, oil on linen.  Leon Golub, 1922-2004.  Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia

 

 

saying thank you

 

 

 

 

 

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Incoming, 2016-2017, oil on canvas.  Keegan Monahan, American born 1986,  Whitney Biennial, 2019

 

 

over telephones we are saying thank you

 

 

 

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Detail of Incoming, 2016-2017, oil on canvas.  Keegan Monahan, American born 1986,  Whitney Biennial, NY, 2019

 

 

 

in doorways 

 

 

 

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The approach to Dwarkadish, western Gujerat state. 2010.

One of the holiest of the sites of Lord Krishna. A blessing to be there. A blessing to hold the experience in memory.

 

 

 

      and in the backs of cars and in

 

 

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Horizontal escalator between the West and East Wings of the National Gallery, Washington, DC 

 

 

 

remembering wars

 

 

 

 

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The Shaw Memorial, 1900, patinated plaster.  National Gallery, Washington DC.  The actual memorial is in Boston, MA

  Augustus Saint-Gaudens, 1848-1907, American. 

The Massachusetts 54th Regiment was the first raised with African Americans during the North American Civil War. Robert Gould Shaw, from a prominent Massachusetts  abolitionist family, offered to lead the regiment.

Colonel Shaw was killed in the attack on Fort Wagner in South Carolina  in  July 1863 along with 258 of 600 in this regiment.  Who nevertheless acquitted themselves honorably.

 

 

 

and the police at the door

and the beatings on stairs we are saying

thank you

 

 

 

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Police Beating (Untitled), 1943; ink, graphite, watercolor on paper. 

Norman Lewis, 1909-1979, American. On exhibit at the Pennsylvania Academy of  Fine Art, Philadelphia in 2015

 

 

 

in the banks we are saying thank you

 

 

 

 

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 In a metro station in lower Manhattan, New York.  Tom Otterness, American born 1952

 

 

 

 

in the faces of the officials

 

 

 

 

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Government Bureau, 1956, egg tempera on wood.  George Tooker, 1920-2011, American. Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY   

 

 

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The Subway, 1950, tempera on composition board.  George Tooker, 1920-2011, American.  Whitney Museum of (North) American Art, NY

 

 

 

 

and the rich

and of all who will never change

 

 

 

 

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US President Donald Trump and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson at UN Headquarters, New York, 2019

 

 

 

we go on saying thank you thank you

 

 

 

 

Jennifer Angus, Wonder, the Renwick, Smithsonian, DC 2015-06

In Midnight’s Garden, cochineal, various insects, mixed media, 2015.

  Jennifer Angus, born Canada, 1961.  Part of an exhibition about Wonder made for the re-opening of The Renwick (the Smithsonian Museum of American Art), Washington, D.C. 

 

 

 

 

with the animals dying around us

 

taking our feelings we are saying thank you

 

 

 

 

 

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Blue Ombre, mixed media sculpture, 2016.  Tasha Lewis, American.  On exhibit at the Philadelphia Art Alliance, 2016

 

 

 

with the forests falling faster than the minutes

 

 

 

 

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The Pine Barrens, New Jersey, August 2016

 

 

 

 

of our lives we are saying thank you

 

with the words going out like cells of a brain

 

 

 

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To Weave Through Time, 1979, acrylic on canvas.  John E. Dowell, Jr., American born 1941.  Philadelphia Art Museum

 

 

 

 

 

with the cities growing over us

 

 

 

 

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Standing While All Around Are Sinking, , 1977, etching and aquatint.  Roger Brown, 1941-1997, American.  National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC

 

 

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A fig tree eating its label.  Winterthur, Delaware, 2019

 

 

 

 

we are saying thank you faster and faster

 

 

 

with nobody listening we are saying thank you

 

 

 

 

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Mizaru, covering his eyes, who sees no evil; Kikazaru, covering his ears, who hears no evil; and Iwazaru, covering his mouth, who speaks no evil. 

Mahatma Ghandi’s Sabarmati ashram, Ahmedabad, Gujerat.

 

 

 

 

thank you we are saying and waving

 

 

 

 

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Gravestone in snow in Old Pine Street Church, built 1768, Philadelphia where volunteers have marked the grave of every soldier who died in the Revolutionary War with an American flag and details of the life and death.

 

 

 

 

dark though it is

 

 

 

 

 

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As below

 

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2 lanterns, 1723-1735, Qing Dynasty (1644-1912), China; porcelain with overglaze enamel decoration.  The flowers are for peace, unity and longevity

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Detail of Painting for My Dad, 2011, oil on canvas, and detail. 

Noah Davis, 1983-2015, American. Whom the god’s loved.

Exhibited at the Barnes Foundation in 2019 in 30 Americans from the Rubell Family Collection

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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