When Power Corrupts, Poetry Cleanses

When power leads man toward arrogance, poetry reminds him of his limitations.  When power narrows the areas of man’s concern, poetry reminds him of the richness and diversity of his existence.  When power corrupts, poetry cleanses.  For art establishes the basic human truth which must serve as the touchstone of our judgment.

John F. Kennedy

Given this year’s corrupt and amoral American presidential campaign, these seem like words from another planet–which makes them all the more timely.

Kensington Park, Michigan

Photo Challenge: Art’s Rare Appearance along Nature’s Path

Sophia, Princess of Palatine, rarely leaves the friendly confines of the Detroit Institute of Arts, but here she is visiting  a local park, perhaps enjoying the natural perfume of the spring flowers, as part of the DIA’s outreach to local hikers.

Photo Challenge:  Rare

newburgh 5 10 15 010


Not a Piano Key to be Played, but a Human

For the whole work of man really seems to consist in nothing but proving to himself every minute that he is a man and not a piano-key to be played!  And this being so, can one help being tempted to rejoice that it has not yet come off, and that desire still depends on something we don’t know?

Fyodor Dostoevsky, Notes from Underground

An 1864 Russian novel I read and discussed in a book club in nearby Ann Arbor yesterday.  The Underground Man asserts a person’s right to be human, with all the “unreasonable” emotions that involves, in the face of reformers’ efforts to conform human behavior to their idea of rationality and “the good.”  Also, a revolution in the novel, with the first anti-hero and the emergence of the unreliable narrator.  Really quite an amazing achievement in the art of writing.  I’m still marveling and will be re-reading after picking up many great insights from the book club members’ discussion.

Warren Dunes state park

Warren Dunes, Michigan

Photo Challenge, Fun: Leap and Bound

This week’s theme is fun.  Plato wrote that all young animals leap and bound, they dance and frolic, as it were with glee.  Here’s one doe who is poised to embark on a frolic: eyes bright, muscles taut.  And then there’s the fun the photographer had when lucky enough to capture this split-second!

Photo Challenge:  Fun

matthaei gardens ann arbor michigan

We Live in the Flicker

“Yes; but it is like a running blaze on a plain, like a flash of lightning in the clouds.
We live in the flicker–“

Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness

Memories of treasured, but distant experiences led me to this quote.  Funny how a melody, or a passage of writing, can ignite  feelings from the past when it seemed they were merely dull embers.   I love Conrad’s  writing–and English was not his first language.  So envious!

Tacquahmenon Park, Michigan

Tacquahmenon Park, Michigan