First values 3: the magic of animals

As a poet I hold the most archaic values on earth. They go back to the late Paleolithic;


the fertility of the soil,

the magic of animals,

the power-vision in solitude,

the terrifying initiation and rebirth;

the love and ecstasy of the dance,

the common work of the tribe.


Gary Snyder, American born 1930, in Earth House Hold, 1969




How We Are Spared

from The Lice, 1967

W.S. Merwin, 1927- 2019, American 



At midsummer before the dawn an orange light returns to the mountain






Red Sun, oil on canvas, 1935. 

Arthur Dove, 1880-1946, American.  The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC




Like a great weight and the small birds cry out





Norman Lewis abstract paintings-18

Birds; 1950; oil on canvas. 

Norman Lewis, 1900-1979, American.  On exhibit at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in 2015 courtesy of  a private collection.





Swifts:  Path of Movement + Dynamic Sequences, 1913, oil on canvas. 

Giacomo Balla, 1871-1968, Italian.  MOMA, NY







Countless Upward, 1959; crayon, ink and watercolour on paper.

  Norman Lewis, 1900-1979, American.  On exhibit at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art in  2015.  Private collection.





 Quilt made by a woman who lives in Arden, Delaware. October 2021.

Arden, a paradise, was founded in 1900 as a radical, single-tax community whose governance was based on principles evolved by the Philadelphia economist, George Herbert; William Morris, the English philosopher and initiator of the Arts and Crafts movement;  and the Russian anarchist, Peter Kropotkin.

Certain original features remain: notably that land in Arden cannot be sold and the village contains many trees and bushes; and some of the only old growth forest left on the east coast of the US.


Admiring quilts visible through a window, I was invited into the house to photograph the textiles in the house: a hospitality also descended from the practice of the first villagers.






Flying Geese Variation Quilt, c. 1935, cotton and wool. 

Annie E. Pettway, 1904-1971.  Philadelphia Art Museum, first collected by the Souls Run Deep Foundation




                                        the small birds cry out

And bear it up.








2 thoughts on “First values 3: the magic of animals

  1. Thank you!

    W.S. Merwin is one of my favourite poets. He was never anything else: a poet and a translator of poetry. Sarah

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