Santa Rufina

Posted in Painting with tags , on July 19, 2017 by Dylan Thomas Hayden

Velazquez, Santa Rufina

Diego Velázquez
oil on canvas, c. 1630
Hospital de los Venerables, Seville

The Silver Age

Posted in Greek Myth, Painting, Poetry with tags , on July 19, 2017 by Dylan Thomas Hayden

Corot, Sodom

The second age came after,
and it was much worse.
This silver age of men was made by the immortals
who have palaces on Olympus.
Neither in body nor mind
did they resemble the golden age.
For one hundred years,
each child stayed with its mother.
For one hundred years, she had to raise it,
fussing over it at home, a big dumb child.
Then when it passed puberty,
that measure of youthful prime,
it didn’t live much longer.
Sufferings were brought on
because of their deeply ingrained,
habitually adolescent stupidity. Reckless violence
could not be restrained between them.
As for service to the immortals,
they were unwilling to give it.
They offered no sacrifice on the altars of the blessed.
But sacred law decrees that humans offer sacrifice,
as is our custom. Therefore Zeus,
the son of Cronus, in a just anger, made them disappear.
They refused to give honors
to the blessed gods who hold Olympus.
And for that reason they had to die.

Text: Hesiod, Theogony/Works and Days, translated by C. S. Morrissey. Vancouver: Talon Books, 2012
Image: Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, L’incendie de Sodome, oil on canvas, 1843 and 1857, Metropolitan Museum

Man in the stream…

Posted in Painting, Poetry with tags , on July 17, 2017 by Dylan Thomas Hayden


Man in the stream of his mysterious life
Has left to his descendants patterns various and worthy of his
immortal origin
As he has also left traces of the ruins of daybreak,
snowdrifts of heavenly reptiles, paper eagles, diamonds and
the glances of hyacinths
In the midst of sighs, of tears, of hunger, of lamentations
and of the ash of wells under the earth.

Text: Nikos Gatsos, Amorgos, translated by Sally Purcell. London: Anvil Press, 2006
Image: Nicolas Poussin, Paysage avec Saint Jean à Patmos, oil on canvas, 1660, Art Institute of Chicago

They say the mountains shiver…

Posted in Painting, Poetry with tags , on July 16, 2017 by Dylan Thomas Hayden

Poussin, Deluge

They say the mountains shiver and the fir trees are enraged
When night crunches up the pegs of the roof-tiles for familiars to enter in
When the swill of hell runs in the froth and trouble of winter streams
Or when the parted hair of the pepper tree becomes a spinning-top for the north wind.

Only the cattle of the Achaeans in the fat meadows of Thessaly
Graze thriving and strong in the everlasting sun that watches them
They eat green grass, leaves of poplar, parsley, drink clean water in the channels
They smell the sweat of the earth and later fall down heavily in the shade of the willow and sleep.

Reject the dead, said Heraclitus, and saw the sky turn pale
And saw two little cyclamens kissing in the dirt
And he too lay down to kiss his own dead body on the hospitable earth
As the wolf comes down from the woods to see the dog’s carcass and to weep.
What is it to me, the drop that runs and glitters down your forehead?
I know the lightning has written his name on your lips
I know an eagle has built his nest in your eyes
But here on the wet bank there is only one road
Only one deceiving road and you must take it
You must dive down into blood before occasion overtakes you
And cross to the other side to rediscover your comrades
Flowers birds deer
To find another sea, another gentleness,
To seize the horses of Achilles by the reins
Instead of sitting dumb to quarrel with the river
To throw stones at the river like the mother of Kitsos.
Because you in your turn will have been ruined and your beauty will have grown old.
On the branches of a willow I see the shirt of your childhood hanging up to dry.
Take the flag of your life for a sheet to wind up death
And let your heart not bend
And let your tear not fall on this unrelenting earth
As the penguin’s tear once fell in the frozen desert
Lamentation is useless
Everywhere life will be the same, with the flute of the serpents in the country of ghosts
With the song of the robbers in the spice groves
With the knife of a sorrow in the cheek of hope
With the grief of a springtime nestling in the heart of the young owl
It is enough if a plough is found and a sickle sharp in a happy hand
Enough if there should flower only
A little grain for festivals, a little wine for remembrance, a little water for the dust…

Text: Nikos Gatsos, Amorgos, translated by Sally Purcell. London: Anvil Press, 2006
Image: Nicolas Poussin, L’Hiver ou Le Déluge, oil on canvas, 1660-1664, Musée du Louvre

La Verónica

Posted in Painting with tags , on July 12, 2017 by Dylan Thomas Hayden

El Greco - La Verónica

El Greco
oil on canvas, 1580
Museo de Santa Cruz, Toledo

Sainte Véronique

Posted in Painting with tags , on July 12, 2017 by Dylan Thomas Hayden


Master of the Legend of Saint Ursula
oil on panel, c. 1480-1500
private collection

Die heilige Veronika

Posted in Drawing with tags , on July 12, 2017 by Dylan Thomas Hayden


Martin Schongauer
engraving, c. 1480
National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.