The Old Year's Gone Away: Happy New Year!

 The Old Year’s gone away 
 To nothingness and night: 
We cannot find him all the day 
 Nor hear him in the night: 
He left no footstep, mark or place
 In either shade or sun:
 The last year he’d a neighbour’s face, 
 In this he’s known by none. 

All nothing everywhere: 
 Mists we on mornings see 
Have more of substance when they’re here 
 And more of form than he. 
He was a friend by every fire, 
 In every cot and hall— 
A guest to every heart’s desire, 
 And now he’s nought at all. 

Old papers thrown away, 
 Old garments cast aside, 
The talk of yesterday, 
 Are things identified; 
But time once torn away 
 No voices can recall: 
The eve of New Year’s Day 
 Left the Old Year lost to all.

John Clare 
English, 1793 – 1864

Triumph of Time, The Master of Petrarch's Triumphs
French, 15th to 16th century
Personification of Time in a flower garland, Carstian Luyckx
Flemish, 1623 - 1675
A Masque of Days, Walter Crane
English, 1845 - 1915

Here Comes the Rain Again: Is it Raining with You?

Here comes the rain again
Falling on my head like a memory
Falling on my head like a new emotion
I want to walk in the open wind
I want to talk like lovers do
I want to dive into your ocean
Is it raining with you


Aksel Waldemar Johannessen 1880 - 1922 Norwegian
Utagawa Hiroshige 1797 - 1858 Japanese
Karol Hiller 1891- 1939 Polish

Failed Ambition: Icarus and Phaethon

off the coast
there was

a splash quite unnoticed
this was
Icarus drowning
~ William Carlos Williams

Despite the warnings of his father, Daedalus, Icarus wearing wings of wax and feather soared up towards the sun.  In the Greek myth, solar rays melted the wax and loosened the feathers plunging the impetuous youth to a watery grave.  A metaphor for failed ambition, often depicted in art and literature.   

German artist Sascha Schneider (1870-1927) eroticized Icarus.   Initially Schneider’s art benefited from Germany’s “Free Body Culture” or “Freikörperkultur.”  While embracing the male nude body in public, the movement did not tolerate private homosexuality.   The gay artist fled to Italy in the early 1900s when threatened by a blackmailer. Contemporary Portuguese sculptor Rogério Timóteo explores the beauty and boldness of the human body in marble and metal.  Timóteo’s massive sculpture Icarus appears to float in the air, a moment of balance before falling from grace.   

Similar to the tragic tale of Icarus is the fable of Phaethon.  In Greek mythology, the son of solar deity Helios, and a mortal woman, journeyed to his father’s royal palace in the East.  Helios granted his son one favor.  Phaethon insisted on driving the Sun Chariot across the heavens to the West.  Against Helios’ wishes, his son took the reins of the carriage.  When steered by his father, the chariot and four winged horses brought the Sun's warmth and light to mortals.  Instead Phaethon lost control of the quadriga and set the earth aflame.  Struck down by a thunderbolt from Zeus, Phaethon fell to a fiery death in the river Eridnos.

French decorative artist Adolphe David (1828–1896), captured Phaethon’s descent in an exquisite carved onyx cameo of ochre and white set against polished black jet.