… at least one of them is about walking fearlessly through the understated beauty of San Mateo downtown at night. I’ve been thinking of that as I settle into my new city and my new home in an area that doesn’t lend itself to evening walks with their peace and their quiet inspiration.
“Night is a time of rigor, but also of mercy. There are truths which one can see only when it’s dark.” Isaac Bashevis Singer
WEDNESDAY WRITING PROMPT April 26, 2017 ~ Climate change is on our minds these days – perhaps more than in the past given the regime – and we are feeling one with Mother Earth and all her creatures and gratitude for the people who marched on Saturday. What pictures come to mind when you think of our home? How do they make you feel or respond? Tell us in prose or poem . . . and several readers took the challange creating work that rewards your time spent. Enjoy! … and do visit their sites. Get to them better and let them get to know you.
Wonderlust Rain Forest
Approaching fading blue skies, we wandered silently through the
Costa Rican Rainforest on our private boat tour. Reaching peaceful estuaries
quietly seeking the wildlife that inhabits this forest.
Silently listening to nature at play, we soon reached the end of our destination.
Unspoiled waters filled with hope for natures future.
Isadora DeLa Vega is featured for the first time on The Poet by Day. Since I’ve enjoyed her creativity for years, I’m pleased to have her response to last Wednesday’s writing prompt.
Isadora blogs at Isadora Art and Photography, A Place for Visual Creativity. She began her career in her late thirties after raising her children. For twenty-eight years, Isadora created award-winning silversmith art jewelry. When she retired due to failing health, she knew that she still needed to be creative. She decided to explore photography because she is inspired by and passionate about luscious colors. She says, “They’re the manna that feeds my soul.” Before long she realized that writing and poetry were good outlets as well for conveying her thoughts. Her long-term goal is to one day publish a book with her photography and quotes.
in the wobble & bulge
of the hurtling universe
I am the sound of blackbirds
and the flutter of a butterfly wing
the shifting shadow on the summer lawn
and the tall tree wind getting up;
all this fixes me for the moment
along with the ancient memory
of two maternal relatives we visited
in Wimbledon Park—it seemed quite often
though it might have been but once or twice…
their lawn turned into a pathway
round a herbaceous oblong
to follow which seemed a minor mystery—
one that transposed many mysteries
to lead to this moment now
darkening shadows and squawk of pheasant
and beeflies above the mouldering sundial
The fox follows her along the byway to reach untouched forests
those forests unfettered by time and pristine oceans devoid of human touch
and each time always she passes freeways littered with a garbage landscape
the fox glances at bottles and fast food wrappers collecting
on roads under construction on a continuum of future whys
where the smell of black tar invades with stinging and burning
she should be accustomed but wrinkles her nose in disgust
as does the fox now her shadow trusting she will reach a destination
not concrete and black asphalt now covering the richness of earth
and does she still hope windows rolled and closed will be enough
enough to keep her safe or will they be unable to block
out the constant drone of the noise of a civilized world
a world that is one built impinging on nature’s habitat
one adding insult to injury and becoming a macabre graveyard
to endangered species & the fox wonders if he will be next
but he cannot bring himself to let himself be absorbed
into track homes swallowing up citrus groves as the raccoons have done
stealing into the night to rob garbage cans of their next meal
this becoming an unnatural habitat as it has for bears and possum
and he feels oddly fortunate that tigers and lions do not live here
but he can still hear them all screaming in pain underpinned with sorrow
and the fox listens as he follows and always the level of noise increases
increases exponentially with every tree cut down and concrete poured
and the fox feels his shadow growing less as theirs becomes more
where claustrophobic habitats are multiplying housing for a rising populace
and the need to reach the forest to be able to stare in awe at the ocean
propels them down the road and she knows she is like the fox
and that no amount of polish will shine and bring it all back
to bring it back to a time delegated to past histories before her
before the fox became her shadow on a journey to find survival
the only solution being the ability of technology to merge with nature
to be a part of the answer in preserving the beauty here long before us
long before becoming tarnished goods in the midst of climate change
long before the fox became her shadow and she became the fox’s shade
“We are as gods and might as well get good at it.”
O, your presumption did not account
for the delicacy of flesh and bone,
the death wish of the human soul.
You had an impact on my future,
I’m not sure I forgive you.
There is your clear signature
in the fossil record , an observable
in the abundance and diversity of plant
and animal life. Perhaps we should
define your time from here.
Did it start when we traced your pulse
at the start of the Industrial Revolution?
Your carbon-dioxide pulse that underlay
what you thought was global warming.
O, your dreams to guide mankind towards global, sustainable, environmental management. How could you see
the juggernaut was unstoppable?
LESSON THIRTEEN: Practice Corporeal Politics “Power wants your body softening in your chair and your emotions dissipating on the screen. Get outside. Put your body in unfamiliar places with unfamiliar people. Make new friends and search with them. ” Prof. Snyder, On Tyranny, Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century
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Regarding the flower photograph: As you may have noticed over the past few days, I’ve been experimenting with special effects for flower photographs. This flower photo put me in mind of Neruda’s poem. (Everything he wrote seems to stay in memory.) Originally the photograph wasn’t meant to be blurry but The Bax was pulling me along as I was clicking away and some photos got “ruined.” In the end, I appreciated the misty mysterious quality that the blurring gave this one. Some of the best things happen by accident – or at least partly by accident.
“In politics being deceived is no excuse.” Leszak Kolakowski
Recommended read: On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century by Timothy Snyder. Left, right or center – American or not – it’s a must read for our chaotic times … and not just the list of lessons but Prof. Snyder’s commentary on each. This book is a rational enlightening little gem and a powerful wake-up call.
Lesson Five: “Remember Professional Ethics When political leaders set a negative example, professional commitments to just practice become more important. It is hard to subvert a rule–of-law state without lawyers, or to hold show trials without judges. Authoritarians need obedient civil servants, and concentration camp directors seek businessmen interested in cheap labor.”
Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, announced today its adoption of a new policy: all images of public-domain artworks in the Museum’s collection are now available for free and unrestricted use. This updated policy, known as Open Access, utilizes the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) designation. This policy change is an update to The Museum’s 2014 Open Access for Scholarly Content (OASC) initiative. The Met’s Open Access policy facilitates the use of more than 375,000 images of public-domain artworks for both scholarly and commercial purposes. The Museum is collaborating with global partners to enable greater access to the collection.
In making the announcement, Mr. Campbell said
We have been working toward the goal of sharing our images with the public for a number of years. Our comprehensive and diverse museum collection spans 5,000 years of world culture and our core mission is to be open and accessible for all who wish to study and enjoy the works of art in our care. Increasing access to the Museum’s collection and scholarship serves the interests and needs of our 21st-century audiences by offering new resources for creativity, knowledge, and ideas. We thank Creative Commons, an international leader in open access and copyright, for being a partner in this effort.”
“Sharing is fundamental to how we promote discovery, innovation, and collaboration in the digital age,” said Ryan Merkley, CEO, Creative Commons.
“Today, The Met has given the world a profound gift in service of its mission: the largest encyclopedic art museum in North America has eliminated the barriers that would otherwise prohibit access to its content, and invited the world to use, remix, and share their public-domain collections widely and without restriction. This is an enormous gift to the world, and it is an act of significant leadership on the part of the institution. I want to congratulate Thomas P. Campbell, the board of trustees, and The Met staff for making such a strong commitment to collaboration and sharing, and I hope that other institutions, both public and private, will follow the path they are setting out here today.”
To maximize the reach of The Met’s Open Access initiative, the Museum announced its new partnerships with Creative Commons, Wikimedia, Artstor, Digital Public Library of America (DPLA), Art Resource, and Pinterest. The Museum also welcomes its first Wikimedian-in-Residence, Richard Knipel, who will collaborate with Wikimedians around the world to bring images of public-domain artworks into Wikimedia Commons, Wikipedia, and diverse GLAM-Wiki initiatives. Creative Commons will support search and re-use of The Met collection with its CCSearch beta .
“The Met has again proven itself a leader among the world’s great cultural institutions. By opening their vast collection of art and antiquities to be freely available under Creative Commons Zero, they are lighting the way for other institutions to follow,” said Katherine Maher, Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation. “Wikipedia’s hundreds of millions of users from around the globe will now be able to experience The Met’s greatest treasures, no matter where they live. This remarkable cultural heritage is now free for anyone to view, share, and use.”
Loic Tallon, The Met’s Chief Digital Officer, said:
“In our digital age, the Museum’s audience is not only the 6.7 million people who visited The Met’s three locations in New York City this past year, but also the three-billion-plus internet-connected individuals around the world. Adopting the CC0 designation for our images and data is one of the most effective ways the Museum can help audiences gain access to the collection and further its use by educators and students, artists and designers, professionals and hobbyists, as well as creators of all kinds. I am particularly delighted to be launching the Museum’s CC0 policy in collaboration with Creative Commons, Artstor, DPLA, Pinterest and the Wikipedia community, and for their support in bringing the Museum’s collection to their users.”
The Met’s new agreement with Artstor, a service affiliated with the education not-for-profit ITHAKA, will make the images discoverable throughout its digital resources, which support a global education community and provide tools to encourage image and data use in research and teaching.
“We are thrilled to help further the impact of The Met’s bold public digital access initiative through our work in the global educational community,” said Kevin Guthrie, President of Artstor and ITHAKA.
“We look forward to making these 375,000 images available so that teachers, students, and researchers around the world can find them, use them, and most importantly re-use them. The CC0 license for these images is a sea change that will help educators and students advance our collective understanding of art and human values by encouraging their use, not only in traditional classrooms and scholarly publications, but also in new digital projects and online courses.” Guthrie added, “Access is just the beginning. We look forward to continuously finding ways to work with those engaged in education to enhance and encourage the reach of this collection.”
The public can also find images offered from this initiative on Pinterest, thus making the collection more easily accessible to their community.
Evan Sharp, co-founder and Head of Product at Pinterest, said:
“Pinterest is where more than 150 million people discover ideas for their lives, whether they collect images of artistic masterpieces or the art of the everyday. We’re honored to partner with The Met to make this unprecedented collection accessible to the Pinterest community.”
The rollout of this change in policy is an ongoing process, as the Museum continues to collaborate with new and existing partners to develop our content-distribution efforts and explore new opportunities.
While all images of works the Museum believes to be in the public domain are included in this initiative, certain works are not available for one or more of the following reasons: the work is still under copyright, or the copyright status is unclear; privacy or publicity issues; the work is owned by a person or an institution other than The Met; restrictions by the artist, donor, or lender; or lack of a digital image of suitable quality.
The Museum continues to work with Art Resource for licensing images of works under copyright or other restrictions, or for images not available on The Met’s website.
The Met’s Open Access initiative is made possible through the Bloomberg Philanthropies.
“The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s new initiative brings its collection to an even larger audience. One of the first museums to offer audio guides, invest in mobile apps, and develop a robust website, The Met continues to be a leader in providing access to its encyclopedic resources for millions of people all over the world,” said Kate D. Levin of Bloomberg Philanthropies.
Related blog posts about The Met’s new image policy can be found on Now at The Met and Digital Underground, as well as on the websites of our partners Creative Commons, Wikimedia Foundation, and Artstor.
Additional information and instructions can also be found at metmuseum.org/openaccess.