Monday, May 31, 2010

Happy Birthday Marilyn Monroe (1926-1962)

I just want to take this moment to remember one of the most beautiful women of the 20th century and of my lifetime, Marilyn Monroe, whose birthday is June 1. She would have been 84 years old this week. She was beloved around the world not only for her innate sensuality but for her compelling undisguised vulnerability. I believe that was her true beauty but I am not sure she ever understood that.

"My illusions didn't have anything to do with being a fine actress. I knew how third rate I was. I could actually feel my lack of talent, as if it were cheap clothes I was wearing inside. But, my God, how I wanted to learn, to change, to improve!" Marilyn Monroe

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Fauna Obscura, a new blog!

Blubyrd, a little friend of mine, has produced her first fledgling blog, FaunaObscura, and even in it's first infant strains promises to be an exceptional endeavor and delightful read from a passionate child of nature. Follow her journey from it's inception here at

Friday, May 28, 2010

Peonies by Mary Oliver

Peonies by Mary Oliver
This morning the green fists of the peonies are getting ready
to break my heart
as the sun rises,
as the sun strokes them with his old, buttery fingers

and they open ---
pools of lace,
white and pink ---
and all day the black ants climb over them,

boring their deep and mysterious holes
into the curls,
craving the sweet sap,
taking it away

to their dark, underground cities ---
and all day
under the shifty wind,
as in a dance to the great wedding,

the flowers bend their bright bodies,
and tip their fragrance to the air,
and rise,
their red stems holding

all that dampness and recklessness
gladly and lightly,
and there it is again ---
beauty the brave, the exemplary,

blazing open.
Do you love this world?
Do you cherish your humble and silky life?
Do you adore the green grass, with its terror beneath?

Do you also hurry, half-dressed and barefoot, into the garden,
and softly,
and exclaiming of their dearness,
fill your arms with the white and pink flowers,

with their honeyed heaviness, their lush trembling,
their eagerness
to be wild and perfect for a moment, before they are
nothing, forever?

Sunday, May 23, 2010

It's Peony Time! Let's Watch Them in Their Eagerness!

What Do I Care by Sara Teasdale

What do I care, in the dreams and the languor of spring,
That my songs do not show me at all?
For they are a fragrance, and I am a flint and a fire,
I am an answer, they are only a call.

But what do I care, for love will be over so soon,
Let my heart have its say and my mind stand idly by,
For my mind is proud and strong enough to be silent, 
It is my heart that makes my songs, not I.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Looking Life in the Eyes

I haven't posted a piece of my work for a long time. This one is very personal. The drawing in the lower left is from a print of mine I did years ago. That is appropriate since the piece to me means a lifetime of learning to see what's right in front of you. The quote is from Sara Teasdale.

                                  When I can look Life in the eyes,
                                  Grown calm and very coldly wise,
                                  Life will have given me the Truth,
                                  And taken in exchange - my youth.

Writing for a Third Blog

Izabella from Creative Souls has asked me to write for their blog too - so my major blog pieces will be on her site as well as the Melange Team ETSY blog site besides this one. I'll be busy with 3 blogs to write for but looking forward to the challenge. I think the Creative Souls website is quite beautiful, as is Izabella's other site, Izabella's Blue which to me is the most beautiful online site I have discovered to date!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Lina Cavalieri - le Belle Epoque beauty and Italian Opera Star

Lina Cavalieri was called the most beautiful woman in the world - and she may have been.

She was born Natalina Cavalieri on Christmas Day in 1874 in Viterbo, Latium, Italy. She lost her parents at the age of 15 and became a ward of the state. She was sent to live in a Roman Catholic orphanage where the strictness of the nuns prompted her to run away at her first opportunity. Mixed reports say she ran away with a touring theatrical company, worked in a tailor shop, as a flower seller and newspaper packer in Rome and sang in Naples's street cafes. Eventually she made her way to Paris where she sang at the Folies Bergere and saved enough to begin her voice and singing studies under Mme. Marchesi with whom she worked diligently for two years. Later she went back to Italy to study some more under Mariani Masi. Some say those voice lessons in Italy were paid for by the Russian Prince Alexander Bariatinsky whom she had met in St. Petersburg, Russia where she was wildly successful singing all the leading opera roles. It is uncertain whether she was married to Bariatinsky or was his mistress. Soon she became quite successful in Milan, Monte Carlo and then Paris. She co-stared at the New York Metropolitan Opera in the Umberto Giordano opera, Fedora with the great Enrico Caruso in December 1906. She remained at the Metropolitan for two more years starring again with Caruso in Puccini's Manon Lescaut in 1907. During the 1909-1910 season she sang with Oscar Hammerstein's Manhatten Opera Company.

She became a famous beauty of le Belle Epoque and audiences flocked to see her as well as hear her. Considered the most beautiful woman in the world she was also the most photographed star of her time. She had amassed a fortune in just a few short years since her debut. Married four times, she was considered to have a classical beauty, with charm and personality free from affectation and her taste in dress was exquisite. Wherever she sang in Italy standing room was at a premium.

After retiring from the stage Lina Cavalieri ran a cosmetic salon in Paris, wrote an advice column for make-up for women, and published a book, My Secrets of Beauty in 1914 at the age of 40 which detailed over a thousand valuable recipes for beauty and bath preparations of her own. The next year she returned to Italy to make motion pictures. When Italy became involved in WWI Lina went to the United States where she made four more silent films. When WWII broke out and she was well into her 60s, she nevertheless worked as a volunteer nurse when she was killed in 1944 in an Allied bombing raid that destroyed her home on the outskirts of Florence. Her portrait was painted several times by well known artists of her day, her likeness was depicted numerously in Piero Fornasetti's designs. A movie was made in 1955 about her life starring Gina Lollobrigida and in 2004 a book was written about her life. Postcards from the many photographs taken of her have become collectible.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Bleeding Aloud

"When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be." Lao Tzu

"We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the life that is waiting for us."  Joseph Campbell
Words have been few and hard to come by recently, but tears have been abundant. I have discovered that letting go is not a simple matter of moving on...going becoming foot in front of the other...or one day at a time. Before I knew it, a year had passed, then two, three....time faded into thin air. So many yesterdays are gone, yet my heart still bleeds, refusing to know what my mind now concedes.

Questions from decades past that have become interwoven into the fabric of my DNA, the stirrings of my soul, will remain unanswered. The ever haunting echo has finally broken through the encrustation that has surrounded my calcified heart for so long, and will be silent no more. No longer can I refuse to hear, to see what has always been true, what I have always known..somewhere.

But how does one let go of a lifetime when it is tied to one's soul? Like a balloon, it's string once tightly clasped in a trusted hand, now forgotten, let loose to drift away - unheeded - to become just a memory. Where does it go? Will the bleeding ever stop?


Having spent so many years in a relationship,
Having invested so much of yourself and your treasure,
Having loved ones you don't want to cause pain to,
Wanting so badly to believe, to succeed, and to not be alone,
One comes to accept however little is given in return
as if
it were

Choosing to live in denial rather than truly see
One rises every morning to put on
the false belief that
Because to admit otherwise
would be

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Someone Else's Mothers - On the 30th Anniversary of My Mother's Death at the Age of 54

                                     (photo from the web)

A Mother’s Prayer 
by Raymond A. Foss
A mother’s prayer
for her child, for her children
for healing, for grace
for the pain she carries
to be lifted from her weary shoulders
to breath free, without weight
hanging, pulling her down
to see a change, a renewal
a mending of the tears,
the frayed edges of existence
of the interrupted aspects,
the missing pieces of her life
after disruptions and displacement
rebuke, and distance
A change of course, in the offing
in the near future, hopeful still
in the God who has listened,
heeded her call before

     Someone's Mother 
by Robert William Service
Someone's Mother trails the street
Wrapt in rotted rags;
Broken slippers on her feet
Drearily she drags;
Drifting in the bitter night,
Gnawing gutter bread,
With a face of tallow white,
Listless as the dead.

Someone's Mother in the dim
Of the grey church wall
Hears within a Christmas hymn,
One she can recall
From the oh so long ago,
When divinely far,
in the holy alter glow
She would kneel in prayer.

Someone's Mother, huddled there,
Had so sweet a dream;
Seemed the sky was Heaven's stair,
Golden and agleam,
Robed in gown Communion bright,
Singingly she trod
Up and up the stair of light,
And thee was waiting - God.

Someone's Mother cowers down
By the old church wall;
Soft above the sleeping town
Snow begins to fall;
Now her rags are lily fair,
but unproud is she:
Someone's Mother is not there . . .
Lo! she climbs the starry stair
Only angels see.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Hope is the Thing with Feathers

 By: Emily Dickinson
"Hope" is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all,
And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.
I've heard it in the chillest land
And on the strangest sea,
Yet never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

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