September 4, 2012

Candle Hat

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--Description: 21st C, Collins B., Fantasy, Humor--

In most self-portraits it is the face that dominates:
Cezanne is a pair of eyes swimming in brushstrokes,
Van Gogh stares out of a halo of swirling darkness,
Rembrant looks relieved as if he were taking a breather
from painting The Blinding of Sampson.

But in this one Goya stands well back from the mirror
and is seen posed in the clutter of his studio
addressing a canvas tilted back on a tall easel.

He appears to be smiling out at us as if he knew
we would be amused by the extraordinary hat on his head
which is fitted around the brim with candle holders,
a device that allowed him to work into the night.

You can only wonder what it would be like
to be wearing such a chandelier on your head
as if you were a walking dining room or concert hall.

But once you see this hat there is no need to read
any biography of Goya or to memorize his dates.

To understand Goya you only have to imagine him
lighting the candles one by one, then placing
the hat on his head, ready for a night of work.

Imagine him surprising his wife with his new invention,
the laughing like a birthday cake when she saw the glow.

Imagine him flickering through the rooms of his house
with all the shadows flying across the walls.

Imagine a lost traveler knocking on his door
one dark night in the hill country of Spain.
"Come in, " he would say, "I was just painting myself,"
as he stood in the doorway holding up the wand of a brush,
illuminated in the blaze of his famous candle hat.


Billy Collins

--Did You Know: (born March 22, 1941) Collins is an American poet. He served two terms as the Poet Laureate of the United States from 2001 to 2003. He was recently appointed the Irving Bacheller Chair of Creative Writing at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida, and is a Visiting Scholar with the Winter Park Institute. He remains a Distinguished Professor at Lehman College of the City University of New York. Collins was born in New York City to William and Katherine Collins. Katherine Collins was a nurse who stopped working to raise the couple's only child. Mrs. Collins had the ability to recite verses on almost any subject, which she often did, and cultivated in her young son the love of words, both written and spoken. Over the years, Poetry has awarded Collins several prizes in recognition of poems they publish. During the 1990s, Collins won five such prizes. The magazine also selected him as "Poet of the Year" in 1994. In 2005 Collins was the first annual recipient of the Mark Twain Prize for Humor in Poetry. Read more at: Billy Collins

--Word of the Day: paralipsis \par-uh-LIP-sis\, noun:
The suggestion, by deliberately brief treatment of a topic, that much of significance is being omitted, as in "not to mention other faults."
Example:
"I need not tell you," he deplored, sinking to paralipsis, "that there resides in almost every one of 'em the unconscious desire not to grow up.
-- Millard Kaufman, Bowl of Cherries: A Novel

--Quote of the Day:How different our lives are when we
really know what is deeply important to us,
and keeping that picture in mind,
we manage ourselves each day
to be and to do what really matters most
- Stephen Covey

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