The Lovers’ Almanac 18 February – You Know

Dear Zazie,  Here is today’s Lovers’ Almanac from Mac Tag to his muse.  Follow us on twitter @cowboycoleridge.  What do you know?  Have you told that someone what you know?  Rhett

The Lovers’ Almanac

Dear Muse,

all these years
all these memories
it has been you

© copyright 2018 mac tag/cowboycoleridge

I sure ain’t found
The answer
Truth is,
I never understood
The language
B’lieve I will stick
With horses

And another oldie but goodie.  This started out as a vignette that I sent you.  Then I read a poem today written by Michelangelo and it all came together.  Hope you like……

You Know

You know
What I wish
What I need

What I think

What I want
What I would do
What I would be doin’
What I long for and yearn for and ache for

How it could be
How it should be
Where I would be
Who I would be with

What I hope
What I dream
What I believe
You know

You know
You know that I am here
More near to you than anyone
I know, you know

What means it then that we are sundered so
If these hopes that flow from you are true,
If this sweet expectancy is not fantasy,
Help break down what between us stands
For bein’ without you is not endurable
Because in you I love, because I know

What you know best, be not therefore afraid
Souls need not burn for souls,
Spirits need not cry for spirits
Come, that we may know the splendour
Together we can find what was meant for us,
That which only together we can know

© copyright 2013 mac tag/Cowboy Coleridge all rights reserved

The Song of the Day is “You Know You Know” by the Mahavishnu Orchestra.  Also check out this song which was based on “You Know You Know”, “One Love” by Massive Attack.  We do not own the rights to these songs.  All rights reserved by the rightful owner.  No copyright infringement intended.

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The Lovers’ Almanac 17 February – Brief Moments – verse by Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer, Louisa Lawson & Banjo Paterson – premiere of Madama Butterfly

Dear Zazie, Here is today’s Lovers’ Almanac from Mac Tag dedicated to his muse. Follow us on twitter @cowboycoleridge. Rhett

The Lovers’ Almanac

Dear Muse,

a wish, but one
mais bien sûr…
meet me in Seville
at Glorieta de Bécquer…

i left flowers there
because i still believe

un bel dì vedremo
indeed, one fine day…
after a long time
see in the distance
comin’ up the hill
callin’ your name
hearin’ you
call my name
a promise
that this will happen

© copyright 2018 mac tag/cowboy coleridge all rights reserved

Un bel dì vedremo
(“One fine day we’ll see”)

“look there she is”
what
“look, there she is
there”
where
“she comes, it means
we are close to home”

music plays
exquisite
lyrical
under the high plains stars
now reachin’ for your hand
to lead you
in a dance
around the fire,
a slow waltz

moon reflects
on ripplin’ water

“What is it you wanted?”
I wanted
more than just
the bright, brief moments
maybe I just had bad luck,
but the true and deep
was just not meant to be

“Does it happen only
to the lucky few?”
yes
“But not to most?”
no
that is why
there are so many
fearful folk out there

a shiver, and feelin’
you close, another
you roll on top
and look down,
your hair touches
my cheek
I cannot see your face
but the stars in the night sky
behind you, look like a crown

© copyright 2017 mac tag/cowboy Coleridge all rights reserved

Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer
Portrait of Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer, by his brother Valeriano (1862).jpg

Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer, by his brother, Valeriano Bécquer

Today is the birthday of Gustavo Adolfo Claudio Domínguez Bastida, better known as Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer ( Seville; February 17, 1836, Seville – December 22, 1870 Madrid); Spanish post-romanticist poet and writer, playwright, literary columnist, and artist.  In my opinon, one of the most important figures in Spanish literature.  He adopted the alias of Bécquer as his brother Valeriano Bécquer, a painter, had done earlier.  He was associated with the post-romanticism movement.  He was moderately well known during his life, but it was after his death that most of his works were published.  Perhaps his best known works are the Rhymes and the Legends, usually published together as Rimas y leyendas.  These poems and tales are essential to the study of Spanish literature and common reading for high-school students in Spanish-speaking countries.

His work approached the traditional poetry and themes in a modern way, and he is considered the founder of modern Spanish lyricism.

Verse 

Glorieta de Bécquer in Seville, Spain

Bécquer at 19

The poet died from tuberculosis, an illness known as “the romantic illness” because of how common it was during the romantic period in Spain. Before this tragic sickness took his life away, Bécquer asked his good friend, Augusto Ferrán, also a poet, to burn all his letters and publish his poems instead, since he thought once he was dead, his work would be more valuable.  His body was buried in Madrid, and afterwards was moved to Seville along with his brother’s.

Somewhere around 1858, he met by chance a girl by the name of Julia Espín, with whom he fell deeply in love, and who also served as an inspiration for much of his romantic poetry.  This love, however, was unrequited.

In 1861, Bécquer met Casta Esteban Navarro, and married her in May 1861.  Bécquer was believed to have had a romance with another girl named Elisa Guillén shortly before the marriage, which is also thought to have been arranged, by the parents of the girl.  The poet was not happy in the marriage, and took any chance he got to follow his brother Valeriano on his constant trips.  Casta began to take up with a man with whom she had had a relationship shortly before marrying Bécquer, something that was later blamed on Bécquer’s trips and lack of attention by Casta’s acquaintances.  The poet wrote very little about Casta, as most of his inspiration at this time, (as it is the case with the famous rima LIII), came from his feelings towards Elisa Guillén.

Verse

Volverán las oscuras golondrinas
En tu balcón sus nidos a colgar
Y otra vez con el ala a sus cristales,
Jugando llamarán.

Pero aquellas que el vuelo refrenaban
Tu hermosura y mi dicha a contemplar,
Aquellas que aprendieron nuestros nombres,
¡Esas… no volverán!

The dark swallows will return
their nests upon your balcony, to hang.
And again with their wings upon its windows,
Playing, they will call.

But those who used to slow their flight
your beauty and my happiness to watch,
Those, that learned our names,
Those… will not come back!

In Rhymes (Rhyme 21) Becquer wrote one of the most famous poems in the Spanish language.  The poem can be read as a response to a lover who asked what was poetry:

¿Qué es poesía?, dices mientras clavas
en mi pupila tu pupila azul.
¡Qué es poesía! ¿Y tú me lo preguntas?
Poesía… eres tú.

What is poetry? you ask, while fixing
your blue pupil on mine.
What is poetry! And you are asking me?
Poetry… is you.

 Serpiente del amor, risa traidora,
verdugo del ensueño y de la luz,
perfumado puñal, beso enconado… ¡eso eres tú!

Louisa Lawson
Louisa Lawson.jpg

Today is the birhtday of Louisa Lawson (née Albury) (Gulgong, New South Wales 17 February 1848 – 12 August 1920 Gladesville, New South Wales); Australian poet, writer, publisher, suffragist, and feminist.

Verse

A Dream

 Just as the grey dawning ‘gan faintly to beam
One still summer’s morning I dreamt a fair dream.
I thought that my body was tenantless clay,
And friends were preparing to lay it away,
They stood at my bedside, one weeping aloud,
While two with deft fingers placed on me a shroud.
And one who had loved me and knew all my care
Placed flowers about me and braided my hair,
And murmured, “Poor creature, her troubles are o’er,
And they who have vexed her can vex her no more.”
Then tenderly crossing my hands on my breast
She kissed me and blessed me and left me to rest.
The kindest words only about me were said
And restfully thought I, “’Tis well to be dead.”
I sighed with contentment, so safe did I seem —
Alas, for the sigh! for it banished my dream.

The Hour is Come

How did she fight? She fought well.
How did she light? Ah, she fell.
Why did she fall? God, who knows all,
Only can tell.

Those she was fighting for — they
Surely would go to her? Nay!
What of her pain! Their’s is the gain.
Ever the way.

Will they not help her to rise
If there is death in her eyes?
Can you not see? She made them free.
What if she dies ?

Can we not help her? Oh, no!
In her good fight it is so
That all who work never must shirk
Suff’ring and woe.

But she’ll not ever lie down –
On her head, in the dust, is a crown
Jewelled and bright, under whose light
She’ll rise alone.

Andrew Barton “Banjo” Paterson
Banjo Patterson.jpg

Banjo Paterson
Today is the birthday of Andrew BartonBanjoPaterson (New South Wales 17 February 1864 – 5 February 1941 Sidney); Australian bush poet, journalist and author.  He wrote many ballads and poems about Australian life, focusing particularly on the rural and outback areas, including the district around Binalong, New South Wales, where he spent much of his childhood.  Paterson’s more notable poems include “Waltzing Matilda”, “The Man from Snowy River” and “Clancy of the Overflow”.

Verse

 He hails from Snowy River, up by Kosciusko’s side,
Where the hills are twice as steep, and twice as rough;
Where the horse’s hoofs strike firelight from the flintstones every stride,
The man that holds his own is good enough.
And the Snowy River riders on the mountains make their home,
Where the river runs those giant hills between;
I have seen full many horsemen since I first commenced to roam,
But nowhere yet such horsemen have I seen.

  • The Man From Snowy River“, the poem which inspired the movies by the same name.

On this day in 1904 – Madama Butterfly receives its première at La Scala in Milan.

Madama Butterfly
Opera by Giacomo Puccini
Hohenstein Madama Butterfly.jpg

Original 1904 poster by Adolfo Hohenstein

Madama Butterfly is an opera in three acts (originally two) by Giacomo Puccini, with an Italian libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa.

It is based on the short story “Madame Butterfly” (1898) by John Luther Long, which in turn was based on stories told to Long by his sister Jennie Correll and on the semi-autobiographical 1887 French novel Madame Chrysanthème by Pierre Loti.  Long’s version was dramatized by David Belasco as the one-act play Madame Butterfly: A Tragedy of Japan, which, after premiering in New York in 1900, moved to London, where Puccini saw it in the summer of that year.

The original version of the opera was poorly received, despite such notable singers as soprano Rosina Storchio, tenor Giovanni Zenatello and baritone Giuseppe De Luca in lead roles; this was due in part to a late completion by Puccini, and thus inadequate time for rehearsals.  Puccini revised the opera, splitting Act II into two (with the Humming Chorus as a bridge to what became Act III) and making other changes.  Success ensued, starting with the first performance on 28 May 1904 in Brescia.

Madama Butterfly is a staple of the operatic repertoire around the world, ranked 6th by Operabase; Puccini’s La bohème and Tosca rank 3rd and 5th.

Geraldine Farrar as Madama Butterfly, 1907

Synopsis

Time: 1904.
Place: Nagasaki, Japan.

Act 1

In 1904, a U.S. Naval officer named Pinkerton rents a house on a hill in Nagasaki, Japan, for himself and his soon-to-be wife, “Butterfly”. Her real name is Ciocio-san (cio-cio, pronounced “chocho” [t͡ʃoːt͡ʃoː], the Japanese word for “butterfly” (蝶々, chōchō?); san is a plain honorific). She is a 15-year-old Japanese girl whom he is marrying for convenience, since he intends to leave her once he finds a proper American wife, and since Japanese divorce laws are very lax. The wedding is to take place at the house. Butterfly had been so excited to marry an American that she had earlier secretly converted to Christianity. After the wedding ceremony, her uninvited uncle, a bonze, who has found out about her conversion, comes to the house, curses her and orders all the guests to leave, which they do while renouncing her. Pinkerton and Butterfly sing a love duet and prepare to spend their first night together.

Act 2

Three years later, Butterfly is still waiting for Pinkerton to return, as he had left shortly after their wedding. Her maid Suzuki keeps trying to convince her that he is not coming back, but Butterfly will not listen to her. Goro, the marriage broker who arranged her marriage, keeps trying to marry her off again, but she won’t listen to him either. The American Consul, Sharpless, comes to the house with a letter which he has received from Pinkerton which asks him to break some news to Butterfly: that Pinkerton is coming back to Japan, but Sharpless cannot bring himself to finish it because Butterfly becomes very excited to hear that Pinkerton is coming back. Sharpless asks Butterfly what she would do if Pinkerton were not to return. She then reveals that she gave birth to Pinkerton’s son after he had left and asks Sharpless to tell him.

From the hill house, Butterfly sees Pinkerton’s ship arriving in the harbour. She and Suzuki prepare for his arrival, and then they wait. Suzuki and the child fall asleep, but Butterfly stays up all night waiting for him to arrive.

Act 3

Suzuki wakes up in the morning and Butterfly finally falls asleep. Sharpless and Pinkerton arrive at the house, along with Pinkerton’s new American wife, Kate. They have come because Kate has agreed to raise the child. But, as Pinkerton sees how Butterfly has decorated the house for his return, he realizes he has made a huge mistake. He admits that he is a coward and cannot face her, leaving Suzuki, Sharpless and Kate to break the news to Butterfly. Agreeing to give up her child if Pinkerton comes himself to see her, she then prays to statues of her ancestral gods, says goodbye to her son, and blindfolds him. She places a small American flag in his hands and goes behind a screen, cutting her throat with her father’s hara-kiri knife. Pinkerton rushes in, but he is too late, and Butterfly dies.

Synopsis (musical numbers)

This is a synopsis of the standard version of the opera, with its arias, duets, trios, choruses, etc. The synopsis is organized into the 34 tracks that constitute most recordings.

Act 1

1. A short orchestral prelude with a busy, fugal opening theme, followed by a second theme of more overtly Japanese character, leads straight into the opening scene.

2. E soffitto e pareti (“And ceiling and walls”). Pinkerton, a U.S. Naval Officer on USS Abraham Lincoln, and Goro, a Japanese marriage broker, are inspecting a small house which sits on a hill and overlooks the bay. Goro has found the house for Pinkerton and his bride, and is showing him the house, with its sliding doors and small garden. The butler, the cook and the bride’s maid, Suzuki, enter the garden and are introduced to Pinkerton. After they leave, Goro tells Pinkerton that everything is now ready and that his intended bride, a girl of 15 called Cio-Cio San (nicknamed Butterfly), will arrive soon, as will the American Consul, the marriage Registrar and all the bride’s relatives, except her uncle. Her uncle is a priest and refuses to attend the wedding ceremony. Sharpless, the American Consul, has climbed up the hill from the city. He enters the garden, greets Pinkerton and Goro, and admires the view that overlooks Nagasaki’s harbor and the sea. Pinkerton tells Sharpless that he has just purchased the little house for 999 years, with the right every month to cancel the agreement. Pinkerton explains that, in Japan, the law is very loose.

3. Dovunque al mondo (“Throughout the world”). As the orchestra plays the opening flourish to “The Star-Spangled Banner” (a musical theme which will characterize Pinkerton throughout the opera), Pinkerton tells Sharpless that, throughout the world, the Yankee wanderer is not satisfied until he captures the flowers of every shore and the love of every beautiful woman. “So I am marrying in the Japanese style: for 999 years, but with the right to cancel the marriage each month”. Sharpless is critical of Pinkerton’s beliefs, but they stand and agree, “America forever”. Pinkerton tells Goro to bring Butterfly to him. When Goro leaves, Sharpless asks Pinkerton if he is really in love.

4. Amore o grillo (“Love or fancy”). Pinkerton admits to Sharpless that he does not know whether he is really in love or just infatuated, but he is bewitched with Butterfly’s innocence, charm and beauty; she is like a butterfly fluttering around and then landing with silent grace, so beautiful “that I must have her, even though I injure her butterfly wings”. Sharpless tells Pinkerton that he heard Butterfly speak, when she visited the Consulate, and he asks Pinkerton not to pluck off her delicate wings. However, Pinkerton tells Sharpless that he will do “no great harm, even if Butterfly falls in love.” Sharpless takes his glass of whisky and offers a toast to Pinkerton’s family at home, to which Pinkerton adds, “and to the day when I will have a real wedding and marry a real American bride.” Goro re-enters to tell Pinkerton and Sharpless that Butterfly’s friends are coming.

5. Ancora un passo (“One step more”). Butterfly can be heard guiding her friends to the top of the hill, jubilantly telling them that “Over land and sea, there floats the joyful breath of spring. I am the happiest girl in Japan, or rather in the world.” Butterfly and her friends enter the garden. She recognizes Pinkerton and points him out to her friends, and all bow down before him.

6. Gran ventura (“May good fortune attend you”). Butterfly greets Pinkerton, who asks about her difficult climb up the hill. Butterfly says that, for a happy bride, the wait is even more difficult. Pinkerton thanks her for the compliment but cuts her off as she continues to compliment him further. Butterfly tells Pinkerton and Sharpless that her family is from Nagasaki and was once very wealthy.

7. L’Imperial Commissario (“The Imperial Commissioner”). Goro announces the arrival of both the Grand Commissioner and the Registrar of marriages. Butterfly greets her relatives, who have arrived for the wedding. Pinkerton laughs at the sight and whispers to Sharpless, “This is a farce: all these will be my new relatives for only a month.” Sharpless tells him that, even though he considers the marriage contract a farce, she considers it very real. Meanwhile, Butterfly tells her relatives how much she loves Pinkerton. One of her cousins says that Goro first offered Pinkerton to her, but she refused. Butterfly’s relatives say that he is like a king, so rich and so handsome, and then, at a sign from Butterfly, all her friends and relatives bow to Pinkerton and walk out to the garden. Pinkerton takes Butterfly’s hand and leads her into the house.

8. Vieni, amor mio! (“Come, my love!”). From her sleeve, Butterfly brings out to show Pinkerton all of her treasures, which include only a few handkerchiefs, a mirror, a sash, and other trinkets. Then she shows him a long, narrow case, which she tells him holds her only sacred treasure, but she cannot open it, because there are too many people around. Goro whispers to Pinkerton that the case contains a “gift” from the Mikado to Butterfly’s father, inviting him to commit seppuku. Butterfly continues to show Pinkerton her other little treasures, including several little statues: “They are the spirits of my ancestors.”

9. Ieri son salita tutta sola (“Yesterday, I went all alone”). Butterfly tells Pinkerton that yesterday, in secret and without telling her uncle, who is a Buddhist priest, the Bonze, she went to the Consulate, where she abandoned her ancestral religion and converted to Pinkerton’s religion. “I am following my destiny and, full of humility, bow to Mr. Pinkerton’s God.”

10. Tutti zitti (“Quiet everyone”). Everything is ready, and Goro tells everyone to be quiet. The Commissioner conducts the brief ceremony and witnesses Pinkerton and Butterfly sign the official papers.

11. Madama Butterfly (“Madam Butterfly”). The wedding celebration begins, and everyone wishes happiness to the new couple. After a short while, Sharpless pleads with Pinkerton not to be cruel, and he leaves with the Commissioner and the Registrar. Pinkerton, Butterfly and their guests continue the celebration with many toasts.

12. Cio-Cio San! (“Cio-Cio San”). The toasts are interrupted by an angry voice offstage, saying “Cio-Cio San! Cio-Cio San! You are damned.” Butterfly’s uncle, the Bonze, has discovered that Butterfly has renounced her ancestral religion, and he has arrived to deliver his curse. He stands over Butterfly, shouting his curses at her, when Pinkerton intervenes to stop him. The Bonze is shocked at the American, and he orders all the guests to leave with him, saying to Butterfly, “You have renounced us, and we renounce you.” All the guests shout their renunciation as they rush away. The night is falling. Butterfly is weeping. Pinkerton consoles her.

13. Bimba, Bimba, non piangere (“Sweetheart, sweetheart, do not weep”). (This begins the famous long love duet, which ends act 1.) Pinkerton tells Butterfly that “All your relatives and all the priests in Japan are not worth the tears from your loving, beautiful eyes.” Butterfly smiles through her tears, “You mean that? I won’t cry any more. And I do not worry about their curses, because your words sound so sweet.” They hear Suzuki offstage, saying her evening prayers.

13A. Viene la sera (“Night is falling”). (The long duet continues.) Pinkerton tells Butterfly that the “Night is falling”, and Butterfly answers that “with it comes darkness and peace.” Pinkerton claps his hands, and the three servants enter and close up the house. Then Suzuki helps Butterfly dress for her wedding night. Pinkerton watches Butterfly, as she watches him, but her happiness is tempered, as “still the angry voice curses me. Butterfly is renounced – renounced but happy”.

14. Bimba dagli occhi (“Sweetheart, with eyes…”). (The long duet continues.) Pinkerton admires the beautiful Butterfly and tells her, “you have not yet told me that you love me.” Butterfly replies that she does not want to say the words, “for fear of dying at hearing them!” She tells him that now she is happy.

15. Vogliatemi bene (“Love me, please.”). (The long duet concludes.) Butterfly pleads with Pinkerton to “Love me, please.” She asks whether it is true that, in foreign lands, a man will catch a butterfly and pin its wings to a table. Pinkerton admits that it is true but explains, “Do you know why? So that she’ll not fly away.” He embraces her and says, “I have caught you. You are mine.” She replies, “Yes, for life.”

Act 2

16. E Izaghi ed Izanami (“And Izanagi and Izanami”). As the curtain opens, three years have passed. Suzuki kneels in front of a Buddha, praying that Butterfly will stop crying. Butterfly hears and tells her that the Japanese gods are fat and lazy, and that the American God will answer quickly, if only He knows where they are living. Suzuki tells Butterfly that their money has almost run out and, if Pinkerton does not return quickly, they will suffer in a bad way. Butterfly assures Suzuki that Pinkerton will return, because he took care to arrange for the Consul to pay the rent and to fit the house with locks to keep out the mosquitoes, relatives and troubles. Suzuki tells Butterfly that foreign husbands never return to their Japanese wives, but Butterfly replies furiously that Pinkerton had assured her, on the very last morning they were together, “Oh, Butterfly, my little wife, I shall return with the roses, when the earth is full of joy, when the robin makes his nest.” Suzuki begins quietly to weep.

17. Un bel dì vedremo (“One fine day we’ll see”). In this, the opera’s most famous aria (and one of the most popular works in the soprano repertoire), Butterfly says that, “one fine day”, they will see a puff of smoke on the far horizon. Then a ship will appear and enter the harbor. She will not go down to meet him but will wait on the hill for him to come. After a long time, she will see in the far distance a man beginning the walk out of the city and up the hill. When he arrives, he will call “Butterfly” from a distance, but she will not answer, partly for fun and partly not to die from the excitement of the first meeting. Then he will speak the names he used to call her: “Little one. Dear wife. Orange blossom.” Butterfly promises Suzuki that this will happen. Suzuki departs, as Sharpless and Goro arrive in the garden.

18. C’e. Entrate. (“She is there. Go in.”). Sharpless greets her, “Excuse me, Madam Butterfly.” Without looking to see who is speaking, Butterfly corrects him, “Madam Pinkerton, please.” As she turns and sees that it is Sharpless who has spoken, she exclaims in happiness, “My very dear Consul. Welcome to this American home.” Sharpless draws a letter from his pocket and tells her, “Benjamin Franklin Pinkerton has written to me.” Sharpless tells her that Pinkerton is perfectly well, and she says, “I am the happiest woman in Japan.” Butterfly asks him, “When do the robins make their nests in America?” The question confuses Sharpless, so Butterfly explains that Pinkerton promised to return to her “when the robin builds his nest again.” She says that, in Japan, the robin has already built his nest three times, and she asks if “over there he nests less frequently.” Sharpless, mortified, tells her that he does not know because he has not studied ornithology. At this, Butterfly hears Goro laugh, and she whispers to Sharpless that Goro is a bad man. She tells him that, after Pinkerton left, Goro came to her many times “with presents to palm off this or that husband on me.” She says that Goro now wants her to agree to marry the wealthy man Yamadori, who then is arriving with his entourage to a musical accompaniment that quotes the same Japanese folk tune (Miyasan) that Gilbert and Sullivan set as “Mi-ya sama” in The Mikado.

19. Yamadori, ancor le pene (“Yamadori, are you not yet…”). Butterfly sees Yamadori and asks him if he is not going to give up pursuing her, because “You have already had many different wives.” Yamadori admits that he married all of them, but says that he divorced them too. In the meantime, Sharpless gives up trying to read Pinkerton’s letter to Butterfly, and he puts the letter back in his pocket. Goro tells Sharpless that Butterfly thinks that she is still married. Butterfly hears this and says, “I don’t think I am; I am.” When Goro tries to tell her about the Japanese law of marriage, Butterfly interrupts and tells him that the Japanese law is not the law of her country, the United States. She tells Goro that she understands how easy divorce is under Japanese law, “but in America, you cannot do that.” She turns sharply and asks Sharpless, “Am I correct?” Sharpless is embarrassed and must admit that she is correct. Butterfly turns triumphantly to Suzuki and asks that she serve tea. Yamadori, Sharpless and Goro quietly discuss Butterfly’s blindness. Goro whispers that Pinkerton’s ship is expected to arrive soon, and Sharpless explains that Pinkerton is too embarrassed to meet Butterfly and has asked Sharpless to handle it. Yamadori, offended, departs with his grand entourage and Goro. Sharpless remains, sits next to Butterfly, and takes the letter out of his pocket once more.

20. Ora a noi. (“Now for us.”). Sharpless begins to read Pinkerton’s letter to Butterfly: “My friend, will you find that lovely flower of a girl…” Butterfly cannot control her happiness, as he continues, “since that happy times, three years have passed, and Butterfly perhaps does not remember me anymore.” Butterfly looks at Suzuki and says, “I don’t remember him? Suzuki, you tell him!” Sharpless continues, “If she still loves me, if she awaits me, I place myself in your hands so that you may carefully and considerately prepare her …” Butterfly exclaims, “He is coming! When? Soon! Soon!” Sharpless cannot bear to continue. He puts the letter away, muttering to himself, “that devil Pinkerton!” Sharpless asks her gently, “Butterfly, what would you do if he never returned?” Butterfly is shocked.

21. Due cose potrei far (“Two things I could do”). Butterfly cries that, if Pinkerton never returned, she would go back to entertaining people with her songs, or, better, die. Sharpless pleads with her to accept the rich offer from Yamadori. Butterfly is upset with Sharpless and instructs Suzuki to show him out. As he begins to leave, Butterfly stops him, apologizes for her anger, and explains that his questions have hurt her “so very, very much!” Then she goes into another room and returns, bringing with her the blonde-haired two-year-old boy who is her constant reminder of her American husband.

22. Ah! M’ha scordata? (“Ah! He has forgotten me?”). Butterfly shows Sharpless her child, and Sharpless asks if Pinkerton knows. Butterfly replies, “No. The child was born when he was away in his big country.” She asks Sharpless to write and tell him that his son waits for him. “And then we shall see if he does not hurry over land and sea!” Butterfly kneels in front of her son and asks him, “Do you know that that gentleman had dared to think that your mother would take you in her arms and walk to town, through the wind and rain, to earn your bread and clothes. And she would stretch out her arms to the pitying crowd, crying ‘Listen! Listen to my sad song, For an unhappy mother, your charity. Take pity! And Butterfly – oh, horrible destiny – will dance for you! And as she used to do, the Geisha will sing for you. And her joyful, happy song will end in a sob!” She kneels in front of Sharpless and says that she will never do that, “that trade which leads to dishonor. Death! Death! Never more to dance! Rather would I cut short my life! Ah! Death!”

23. Io scendo al piano. (“I will go now.”) Sharpless finally says, “I will go now.” Butterfly gives him her hand and this her child’s. Sharpless asks the child his name, and Butterfly answers for him, “Today my name is Sorrow. But write and tell Daddy that, the day he returns, my name will be Joy.” Sharpless promises to tell Pinkerton. Offstage, Suzuki can be heard shouting, “Snake. Damned toad!” Suzuki enters, pulling Goro with her, and she tells Butterfly, “He buzzes around, the snake. Every day he tells the four winds that no one knows who is the child’s father!” Goro explains that, in America, when a child is born with a curse, he will always be rejected by everyone. In a rage, Butterfly runs to the shrine, seizes the dagger and threatens to stab him, “You are lying! You are lying! Say that again, and I will kill you!” Goro flees. Suzuki takes the child to the other room. Butterfly replaces the dagger, goes to her son and says, “You will see, my darling, my Sorrow. You will see, your savior will take us far, far away to his land.”

24. Il cannone del porto! (“The cannon at the harbor!”, often known as The Flower Duet). Just then a cannon shot is heard. Suzuki and Butterfly watch from the hill as the ship enters the harbor and drops anchor. Then Butterfly sees that the ship is the Abraham Lincoln, and she tells Suzuki, “They were all lying! All of them! I alone knew. Only I, who love him.” She continues, “My love, my faith, triumphs completely! He has returned, and he loves me!” She tells Suzuki to prepare a fragrant bath and asks how long she will have to wait for him. “An hour? Two hours, perhaps? The house must be filled with flowers. Everywhere. As the night is full of stars!” Butterfly tells Suzuki to gather all the flowers.

25. Tutti i fior? (“All the flowers?”). Suzuki asks, “All the flowers?” Butterfly says yes, all the flowers from all the bushes and plants and trees. “I want the whole fragrance of Spring in here.” They continue to gather flowers and place them everywhere.

26. Or vienmi ad adornar (“Now come to adorn me”). Finally, Butterfly sits at her dressing table and tells Suzuki, “Now, come and adorn me. No, first bring me the child.” She puts a touch of rouge on her own and on her child’s cheeks and then, as Suzuki does her hair, asks her, “What will they say? My uncle, the priest? All so happy at my misery! And Yamadori, with his pursuit? Ridiculed, disgraced, made foolish, the hateful things!” Butterfly dons the same dress that she wore as a bride, while Suzuki dresses her child. Butterfly tells Suzuki that she wants Pinkerton to see her dressed as she was on the first day “and a red poppy in my hair.”

27. Coro a bocca chiusa (“Humming Chorus”). As the off-stage chorus hums a wordless, melancholy tune, Butterfly, her child and Suzuki begin the long wait for Pinkerton to come. Night falls. Suzuki and the baby are soon asleep, but Butterfly keeps her vigil.

There is no intermission between acts 2 and 3. The action continues without interruption as the “Humming Chorus” ends and morning light appears.

Act 3

28. Oh eh! Oh eh! (“Heave-ho! Heave-ho!”). Suzuki and the baby are asleep, but Butterfly remains standing and waiting. Distant voices are heard from the bay. Sailors are singing, “Heave-ho! Heave-ho!” The sun rises and fills Butterfly’s house with light.

29. Già il sole! (“The Sun’s come up!”). Suzuki awakes and is very sad. Butterfly tells her that “He will come.” Then she carries her sleeping child into the other room and tells him to sleep, while she too falls asleep. Suzuki waits in the front room and hears a knock at the door. Pinkerton and Sharpless have arrived, but Pinkerton tells Suzuki not to wake Butterfly and asks how Butterfly knew that he had arrived. Suzuki tells him that, for the last three years, Butterfly has studied every ship that entered the port. Sharpless tells Pinkerton, “Did I not tell you so?” Suzuki sees a strange woman in the garden, learns from Sharpless that she is Pinkerton’s American wife and collapses to her knees in shock.

30. Io so che sue dolore (“I know that her pain”). While Pinkerton looks at the flowers, the picture of himself and the room that has remained unchanged for three years, Sharpless tells Suzuki that they can do nothing for Butterfly but that they must help her child. Sharpless tells her that Pinkerton’s new wife, Kate, wants to care for the child. Suzuki goes into the garden to meet Pinkerton’s new wife, while Sharpless reminds Pinkerton, “I told you, didn’t I? Do you remember? When she gave you her hand: ‘Take care’, I said, ‘she believes in you’. She has been waiting for you.” Pinkerton admits his wrong and leaves Sharpless to tell Butterfly the shameful news.

31. Addio, fiorito asil (“Farewell, flowery refuge”). Pinkerton says “Farewell, flowery refuge of happiness and of love, her gentle face will always haunt me, torturing me endlessly.” He admits that he is a coward and cannot face her, and quickly leaves as Suzuki and Kate enter from the garden. Kate is telling Suzuki to assure Butterfly that Kate will look after her child like her own son.

32. Suzuki! Suzuki! (“Suzuki! Suzuki!”). From offstage, Butterfly calls for Suzuki and then enters the room. As she enters, Kate retreats to the garden, so that she will not be seen. She asks Suzuki why she is crying, and then she sees Sharpless and the woman in the garden. She tells Suzuki, “Suzuki, you are so kind. Do not cry. You love me so much. Tell me softly, just ‘yes’ or ‘no’ … Is he alive?” When Suzuki answers, “yes”, Butterfly understands that Pinkerton is not coming for her and that Kate is his new wife. Butterfly realizes that she must give up her son, and Kate asks her forgiveness. Finally, Butterfly tells Kate, “I will give my child to her only if he comes himself. In half an hour, come up the hill again.” Suzuki escorts Kate and Sharpless out, and Butterfly falls weeping.

33. Come una mosca (“Like a little fly”). Butterfly stands, sees Suzuki and tells her to close up the house, because it is too light and spring-like. Then she orders her to go to the other room where the child is playing. Butterfly then kneels before the statue of Buddha and prays to her ancestral gods. She rises, takes down her father’s knife, kisses the blade, and reads the inscription.

34. Con onor muore (“To die with honor”). Butterfly reads the inscription on her father’s knife: “Who cannot live with honor must die with honor.” Butterfly’s child enters, but Suzuki does not. Butterfly tells her child not to feel sorrow for his mother’s desertion but to keep a faint memory of his mother’s face. She bids him farewell, seats him on the floor and blindfolds him gently. She gives him a miniature American flag to wave in greeting to his father, which he does, blindfolded, throughout the following action. Butterfly takes the knife and walks behind the screen. The knife clatters to the floor as Butterfly staggers from behind the screen with a scarf around her neck. She kisses her child and collapses. From outside, Pinkerton cries, “Butterfly!” and rushes in – but it is too late: Butterfly is dead.

If i were you, I would find a recordin’ and listen to it raht now!  I am.

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The Lovers’ Almanac 16 February – Time – photography by Edward S. Curtis

Dear Zazie, Here is today’s Lovers’ Almanac from Mac Tag dedicated to his muse. Follow us on twitter @cowboycoleridge. Rhett

The Lovers’ Almanac

Dear Muse,

how can words tell,
how dear
lookin’ back
would changin’
anything matter

all gratitude, all pride
a life once crowned
or thought so
what could be
now lifted up
all that is left

if such a thing as joy
exists outside of this vision
is it through you

© copyright 2018 mac tag/cowboy coleridge all rights reserved

breathin’ in the night air
walkin’ around
the perimeter
of the herd
moon, not up yet
high plains night sky,
brilliant with stars
whistle a few bars
of “goodnight, Irene”
to make sure the horses
are aware it is me

musin’ about an earlier conversation
i sometimes forget how much i know
there has been little call to repeat it
gone so long, these many years

time, just gits away from us

how are you
“i’m afraid
I’m on my way out”
we all are
act accordingly

© copyright 2017 mac tag/cowboy Coleridge all rights reserved

Edward S. Curtis
ECurtis.jpg

Self-portrait circa 1889

Today is the birthday of Edward Sheriff Curtis (Whitewater, Wisconsin; February 16, 1868 – October 19, 1952 Los Angeles); American photographer and ethnologist whose work focused on the American West and on Native American peoples.

Gallery 

Princess Angeline of the Duwamish tribe in an 1896 photogravure by Edward Sheriff Curtis

Princess Angeline (Duwamish) in an 1896 photogravure by Curtis

In 1892, Curtis married Clara J. Phillips (1874–1932).

During the years of work on The North American Indian, Curtis was often absent from home for most of the year, leaving Clara to manage the children and the studio by herself.  After several years of estrangement, Clara filed for divorce on October 16, 1916.  In 1919 she was granted the divorce and received Curtis’s photographic studio and all of his original camera negatives as her part of the settlement.  Curtis and his daughter Beth went to the studio and destroyed all of his original glass negatives, rather than have them become the property of his ex-wife.

At the age of 84, Curtis died of a heart attack in the home of his daughter Beth. He was buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California.  A brief obituary appeared in The New York Times on October 20, 1952:

Edward S. Curtis, internationally known authority on the history of the North American Indian, died today at the home of a daughter, Mrs. Beth Magnuson. His age was 84. Mr. Curtis devoted his life to compiling Indian history. His research was done under the patronage of the late financier, J. Pierpont Morgan. The foreward [sic] for the monumental set of Curtis books was written by President Theodore Roosevelt. Mr. Curtis was also widely known as a photographer.

Little Plume, with his son Yellow Kidney, occupies the position of honor, the space at the rear opposite the entrance. Compare with the unretouched original (below), which has a clock between Little Plume and Yellow Kidney.

portrait of Theodore Roosevelt from 1904, Orotone process by Edward Sheriff Curtis

U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt, 1904, orotone by Curtis

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The Lovers’ Almanac 15 February – You

Dear Zazie, Here is today’s Lovers’ Almanac from Mac Tag dedicated to his muse. Follow us on twitter @cowboycoleridge. Rhett

The Lovers’ Almanac

Dear Muse,

mactagwaitinnever knew what was true
absence indicated as much
apart from myself
where doth lie

ridden and ranged far and wide
like a traveler, return and return again
back to the time, back to the places

you will be

believe, in my nature reigns
this wanderin’ that haunts
that forsakes wherever
carry memories
you, all
this verse
turn and turn again
how able
to tell you of your effect
you, such as never expected

© copyright 2018 mac tag/cowboy coleridge all rights reserved

fluctuat nec mergitur
(tossed but not sunk)

which is the greater shame
tryin’ and failin’,
or failin’ to try

ever dance with madness
in the pale moon light
strike up the band y’all

ever ride with madness
in the pale moon light
hold on to the reins y’all

ever done it
and survived
walked away
with your mind
still fairly sound

pull up a chair
and i will tell you
a survivor’s tale

happiness…
how the hell do you figure
i know this,
it is too damn elusive
to spend a life
tryin’ to chase

so do not
find it

buried, denied,
ignored, refused,
shunned, covered up,
and neglected
wants, needs and
desires for so long
not sure if they still exist

© copyright 2017 mac tag/cowboy coleridge all rights reserved

random inception inspired verse…

non regrette rien
non, je ne regrette rien
git ready for the kick y’all

do you want to take
a leap of faith
or become old
and filled with regret
waitin’ to die alone

you know how to find me
you know what you have to do

you remember when…
you said you had a dream
we would grow old together

what are you doin’ here
“just trying to understand”
how could you understand

do you know
what it is
to be a lover
to be half
of a whole

you will be lost
you will become old
and filled with regret
waitin’ to die alone

you are waitin’ for a train
a train that will take you
far away
you know where you hope
the train will go,
but you cannot be sure
you git on the train
because it does not matter
where it is goin’
why does it not matter
because we will be together

non regrette rien
non, je ne regrette rien

Mac Tag

 

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The Lovers’ Almanac 14 February – All My Love – verse by Shakespeare & Elizabeth Barrett Browning – Nina Hamnett, muse

Dear Zazie,  Here is today’s Lovers’ Almanac from Mac Tag to his muse.  Follow us on twitter @cowboycoleridge.  Hope you have a good Valentine’s Day.  Rhett

 The Lovers’ Almanac

Dear Muse,

be mine
if only
for a little while
take my hand
stay
just long enough
so i can recall
what it was like

© copyright 2018 mac tag/cowboy coleridge all rights reserved

In honour of Valentine’s Day; three poems, and day in history notes.

Sonnet 109: O! never say that I was false of heart

O never say that I was false of heart,
Though absence seemed my flame to qualify.
As easy might I from myself depart,
As from my soul, which in thy breast doth lie.
That is my home of love; if I have ranged
Like him that travels I return again,
Just to the time, not with the time exchanged,
So that myself bring water for my stain.
Never believe, though in my nature reigned
All frailties that besiege all kinds of blood,
That it could so preposterously be stained
To leave for nothing all thy sum of good—
For nothing this wide universe I call,
Save thou, my rose; in it thou art my all.
– “Sonnet 109” by William Shakespeare. Public domain.

St-Valentine-Kneeling-In-SupplicationOn Valentine’s Day we celebrate romantic love.  The holiday was named after an early Christian priest, St. Valentine, who was martyred on 14 February 269 A.D.

The tradition of exchanging love notes on Valentine’s Day originates from the martyr Valentine himself. The legend maintains that due to a shortage of enlistments, Emperor Claudius II forbade single men to get married in an effort to bolster his struggling army.  Seeing this act as a grave injustice, Valentine performed clandestine wedding rituals in defiance of the emperor.  Valentine was discovered, imprisoned, and sentenced to death by beheading.  While awaiting his fate in his cell, it is believed that  Valentine fell in love with the daughter of a prison guard, who would come and visit him.  On the day of his death, Valentine left a note for the young woman professing his undying devotion signed “Love from your Valentine.

Elizabeth_Barrett_BrowningPoets Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett Browning carried out one of the most famous romantic correspondences in literary history.  They first introduced themselves by epistolary means, and fell in love even before they had met in person.  The letter that began their relationship was written by Robert in January 1845; it was essentially a piece of fan mail to esteemed poet Elizabeth Barrett.  He wrote:

I love your verses with all my heart, dear Miss Barrett — and this is no offhand complimentary letter that I shall write — whatever else, no prompt matter-of-course recognition of your genius and there a graceful and natural end of the thing: since the day last week when I first read your poems, I quite laugh to remember how I have been turning and turning again in my mind what I should be able to tell you of their effect upon me …

Barrett responded right away: “I thank you, dear Mr Browning, from the bottom of my heart. … Such a letter from such a hand!

They continued writing to each other, clandestinely, for a year and a half, and then they secretly got married in 1846.  Right before the wedding, Robert mailed off to Elizabeth a letter that said: “Words can never tell you, however, — form them, transform them anyway, — how perfectly dear you are to me — perfectly dear to my heart and soul. I look back, and in every one point, every word and gesture, every letter, every silence — you have been entirely perfect to me — I would  not change one word, one look. I am all gratitude — and all pride (under the proper feeling which ascribes pride to the right source) all pride that my life has been so crowned by you.

And then, the day after the wedding, she wrote to him:

What could be better than [your] lifting me from the ground and carrying me into life and the sunshine? … All that I am, I owe you — if I enjoy anything now and henceforth, it is through you.

During their courtship, she was composing sonnets for him, which she presented to him as a wedding gift. The sonnets were published in 1850 and include one of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s most famous love poems:

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candlelight.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right.
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints — I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! — and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

All of the above inspired the following:

All My Love

Never say my heart was not true,
Though absence may indicate as much
I could no more part from myself
As from my soul, which in you doth lie
You will always be the home of my love
I have rode and ranged far and wide
But like a traveler, I return again,
Back to the time, back to the places,
Of you, for you, with you, to you

Never believe, though in my nature reigns

This wanderin’ soul that haunts my blood,
That I forsake you, wherever I roam,
For I carry your memory with me always
For no one in this world do I call,
Save you, my one; in it you are my all
These verses I write with all my heart
I have been turnin’ and turnin’ again
In my mind how I should be able
To tell you of your effect upon me…
Thank you, from the bottom of my heart
Such a woman, such as I never expected
Words can never tell you; however
Form them, transform them anyway,
How dear you are to my heart and soul
I look back, and in every point in time,
Every word and gesture, every letter,
Every silence, you have been perfect to me
I would not change one word, one look
I am all gratitude, and all pride to say
That my life has been crowned by you
What could be better; you lifted me up
From the depths and carried me into life
All that I am, all my words, I owe you
If I enjoy anything again, it is through you
I love you in every way possible
From every depth and breadth and height
Clear out of sight and as far as I can reach
From the beginnin’ of Grace to the end of bein’
I love you from everyday’s most quiet need,
Everyday before the sun and beyond candlelight
I walk the line because of my love for you
I give praise for you and the purity of my love

My love is so full of passion that it puts to rest
My old griefs, and restores all of my lost faith
I love you with a love I thought I had lost
With my lost soul, I love you through it all,
Smiles, tears, all my life and, with these words,
I shall but love you beyond my last breath

The Song of the Day is “All My Love” by Led Zeppelin.  We do not own the rights to this song.  All rights reserved by the rightful owner.  No copyright infringement intended.

Nina Hamnett
Roger Fry Nina Hamnett.jpg

1917 portrait of Nina Hamnett painted by Roger Fry (Courtauld Gallery, London)
Nina Hamnett painted by Roger Fry, 1917, in a dress designed by Vanessa Bell and made at the Omega Workshops

Today is the birthday of Nina Hamnett (Tenby, Pembrokeshire, Wales 14 February 1890 – 16 December 1956 London); Welsh artist and writer, and an expert on sailors’ chanteys, who became known as the Queen of Bohemia.

While studying in London she met and posed for Henri Gaudier-Brzeska who sculpted a series of nude bronzes. During this period she became friendly with Olivia Shakespear and Ezra Pound. She went on to have a love affair with Brzeska, and later with Modigliani and Roger Fry, (allegedly).

On her first night in the Bohemian community she went to the café La Rotonde where the man at the next table introduced himself as “Modigliani, painter and Jew”. In addition to making close friends with Amedeo Modigliani, Pablo Picasso, Serge Diaghilev, and Jean Cocteau, she stayed for a while at La Ruche, where many of the leading members of the avant-garde lived at the time. In Montparnasse she also met her future husband, the Norwegian artist Roald Kristian.

Flamboyantly unconventional, and openly bisexual, Hamnett once danced nude on a Montparnasse café table because she could. She drank heavily, was sexually promiscuous, and kept numerous lovers and close associations within the artistic community. Very quickly, she became a well-known bohemian personality throughout Paris and modeled for many artists. After divorcing Kristian, she took up with another free spirit, composer E. J. Moeran.

From the mid-1920s until the end of World War II, the area known as Fitzrovia was London’s main Bohemian artistic centre. The place took its name from the popular Fitzroy Tavern on the corner of Charlotte and Windmill Streets that formed the area’s centre. Home of the café life in Fitzrovia, it was Hamnett’s favourite hangout as well as that of her friend from her home town, Augustus John, and later another Welshman, the poet Dylan Thomas.

In 1932 Hamnett published Laughing Torso, a tale of her bohemian life, which became a bestseller in the UK and US.

Alcoholism would soon overtake her many talents and the tragic “Queen of the Fitzroy” spent a good part of the last few decades of her life at the bar, (usually that of the Fitzroy Tavern), trading anecdotes for drinks.

Twenty-three years after her first book Laughing Torso was published, Hamnett, in poor health, released a follow up book aptly titled: Is She a Lady?

Hamnett died in 1956 from complications after falling out of her apartment window and being impaled on the fence forty feet below. The great debate has always been whether or not it was a suicide attempt or merely a drunken accident. Her last words were “Why don’t they let me die?”

A biography, Nina Hamnett: Queen of Bohemia, by Denise Hooker was published in 1986. In 2011, Hamnett was the subject of a short film by writer/director Chris Ward ‘What Shall We Do With The Drunken Sailor’ starring Siobhan Fahey.

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The Lovers’ Almanac 13 February – The Hour Should Come – Hawthorne & Joyce, Love Letters – verse by Eleanor Farjeon

Dear Zazie,  Here is today’s Lovers’ Almanac from Mac Tag dedicated to his muse.  Follow us on twitter @cowboycoleridge.  Comes the hour, comes your love?  If the hour came, what would you do?  Rhett

The Lovers’ Almanc

Dear Muse,

In honour of Valentine’s Day, more lyrical love letters from the literary world.

Sophia_Peabody_HawthorneNathaniel Hawthorne wrote Puritan-inspired, New England-based works of dark romanticism, and he was largely a recluse.  But he was cheerful about his personal romantic life.  In his 30s, he fell in love with another reclusive person, Sophia Peabody.  She and Hawthorne secretly became engaged on New Year’s Day in 1839.

They got married in her family’s bookstore in Boston.  She was 32; he was 38.  The newlyweds moved out to an old historic mansion in Concord, Massachusetts, where Henry David Thoreau made a vegetable garden for just the two of them.  Hawthorne wrote to his sister: “We are as happy as people can be, without making themselves ridiculous, and might be even happier; but, as a matter of taste, we choose to stop short at this point.”

Then, on his first wedding anniversary, he wrote to his wife: “We were never so happy as now — never such wide capacity for happiness, yet overflowing with all that the day and every moment brings to us. Methinks this birth-day of our married life is like a cape, which we have now doubled and find a more infinite ocean of love stretching out before us.”

NorabarnacleWriter James Joyce wrote to his wife Nora Barnacle, on 25 October 1909, “You are my only love. You have me completely in  your power. I know and feel that if I am to write anything fine or noble in the future I shall do so only by listening to the doors of your heart. … I love you deeply and truly, Nora. … There is not a particle of my love that is not yours. … If you would only let me I would speak to you of everything in my mind but sometimes I fancy from your look that you would only be bored by me.  Anyhow, Nora, I love you. I cannot live without you. I would like to give you everything that is mine, any knowledge I have (little as it is) any emotions I myself feel or have felt, any likes or dislikes I have, any hopes I have or remorse. I would like to go through life side by side with you, telling you more and more until we grew to be one being together until the hour should come for us to die. Even now the tears rush to my eyes and sobs choke my throat as I write this. Nora, we have only one short  life in which to love. O my darling be only a little kinder to me, bear with me a little even if I am inconsiderate and unmanageable and believe me we will be happy together. Let me love you in my own way. Let me have your heart always close to mine to hear every throb of my life, every sorrow, every joy.”

Here is the Poem of the Day inspired by the these letters.  Hope you like……

The Hour Should Come

One recluse finds another

They lived in the country
He took care of the livestock
And wrote of his love for her
She tended her trees and garden
And painted her love for him
They had a wide capacity for happiness,
Overflowin’ with all that the day
And each moment brought them
Their life, like a cape, now doubled
With an infinite ocean of love
Stretchin’ out before them
She, his only love, had him
Completely in her power
All he wrote, fine or noble
Came from listenin’
To the beat of her heart
He loved her deeply and truly
He had no love that was not hers
He wanted to speak to her
Of everything in his mind
He loved her. He could not live without her

Wanted to give her everything that was his,
His knowledge, his emotions, his likes,
His dislikes, his dreams, his remorse
Wanted to go through life side by side with her,
Wanted her to believe they would be happy together,
Wanted her to let him love her in his own way,
Wanted her to let him have her heart
Always close to his to hear every
Throb of her life, every sorrow, every joy
Tellin’ her more and more until
They grew to be one bein’ together
Until the hour should come for them

Now these many years later
When he reads this poem
Tears rush to his eyes
Sobs choke his throat
They had only one
Short life in which to love
But then the hour came
For only one of them

The Song of the Day is “If Came the Hour” by Secret Garden set to Mozart‘s Sinfonia Concertante in E-flat, K364– II..Andante.  We do not own the rights to this song.  All rights reserved by the rightful owner.  No copyright infringement intended.

Eleanor Farjeon
Eleanor Farjeon (Элеанор Фарджон).jpg

Farjeon in 1899

Today is the birthday of Eleanor Farjeon (London 13 February 1881 – 5 June 1965 Hampstead, London); English author of children’s stories and plays, poetry, biography, history and satire.  Several of her works had illustrations by Edward Ardizzone.  Some of her correspondence has also been published.

Verse

 It’s no use crying over spilt evils. It’s better to mop them up laughing.

  • Gypsy and Ginger (1920)

Of troubles know I none,
Of
pleasures know I many —
I rove beneath the
sun
Without a single penny.

  • Vagrant Songs, II
  • Old sundial, you stand here for Time:
    For Love, the vine that round your base
    Its tendrils twines, and dares to climb
    And lay one flower-capped spray in grace
    Without the asking on your cold
    Unsmiling and unfrowning face.

    • Time And Love
  • Upon your shattered ruins where
    This vine will flourish still, as rare,
    As fresh, as fragrant as of old.
    Love will not crumble.

    • Time And Love
  • Dropt tears have hastened your decay
    And brought you one step nigher death;
    And you have heard, unthrilled, unmoved,
    The music of Love’s golden breath
    And seen the light in eyes that loved.
    You think you hold the core and kernel
    Of all the world beneath your crust,
    Old dial? But when you lie in dust,
    This vine will bloom, strong, green, and proved.
    Love is eternal.

    • Time And Love

Morning Has Broken (1931)

This poem was set to music and became a widely used hymn and became further popularized by the performance of Cat Stevens on his album Teaser and the Firecat (1971) · Performance by Cat Stevens (1976)
  • Morning has broken,
    Like the first morning,
    Blackbird has spoken
    Like the first bird.

    Praise for the singing!
    Praise for the morning!
    Praise for them springing
    Fresh from the Word!
  • Praise with elation,
    Praise every morning,
    God’s re-creation
    Of the new day!

The New Book of Days (1961)

  • From the blood of Medusa
    Pegasus sprang.
    His hoof of heaven
    Like melody rang.

    • Pegasus, St. 1, p. 181
  • His tail was a fountain.
    His nostrils were caves.
    His mane and his forelock
    Were musical waves.
    He neighed like a trumpet.
    He cooed like a dove.
    He was stronger than terror
    And swifter than love.

    • Pegasus, St. 2, p. 181
  • He could not be captured,
    He could not be bought,
    His running was rhythm,
    His standing was thought;
    With one eye on sorrow
    And one eye on mirth,
    He galloped in heaven
    And gambolled on earth.
  • And only the poet
    With wings to his brain
    Can mount him and ride him
    Without any rein,
    The stallion of heaven,
    The steed of the skies,
    The horse of the singer
    Who sings as he flies.

    • Pegasus, St. 3 & 4, p. 181

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The Lovers’ Almanac 12 February – Without You (Reprise No. 2) – Love Letters of Scott & Zelda – verse by George Meredith – photography by Eugène Atget

Dear Zazie,  Here is today’s Lovers’ Almanac from Mac Tag.  Follow us on twitter @cowboycoleridge.  As Valentine’s day approaches, who are you without?  Rhett

The Lovers’ Almanac

Dear Muse,

forever nights
hardest to write
cannot force the words
through the ache of it all

without
purpose
want
need

to know
without

everywhere

without
time
beauty

without you

© copyright 2018 mac tag/cowboy coleridge all rights reserved

A love letter from the literary world, another inspiration for a poem on one of our favorite topics.

Zelda_Fitzgerald_portrait-216x300Zelda Fitzgerald, née Sayre, was F. Scott Fitzgerald’s great muse and more.  He modeled many of his characters after her, and he even included lines in his books that were from letters that Zelda had written him.

The two went on their first date on her 18th birthday.  Her family was wary of him, and she would not marry him until his first novel was actually published.  Zelda was still 18 when she wrote this letter to Scott in the spring of 1919:

Sweetheart,

Please, please don’t be so depressed — We’ll be married soon, and then these lonesome nights will be over forever — Maybe you won’t understand this, but sometimes when I miss you most, it’s hardest to write — and you always know when I make myself — Just the ache of it all — and I can’t tell you.

How can you think deliberately of life without me — If you should die — O Darling — darling Scott — It’d be like going blind. I know I would, too, — I’d have no purpose in life — just a pretty — decoration. Don’t you think I was made for you? I feel like you had me ordered — and I was delivered to you — to be worn — I want you to wear me, like a watch-charm or a buttonhole bouquet — to the world. And then, when we’re alone, I want to help — to know that you can’t do anything without me.

One week after This Side of Paradise appeared in print, Zelda and Scott got married at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City.  They became known as the quintessential Jazz Age couple; beautiful, flashy, with money, and often drunk in public.  The year they married, Zelda wrote to Scott:

I look down the tracks and see you coming — and out of every haze & mist your darling rumpled trouser are hurrying to me — Without you, dearest dearest, I couldn’t see or hear or feel or think — or live — I love you so and I’m never in all our lives going to let us be apart another night. It’s like begging for mercy of a storm or killing Beauty or growing old, without you.

Lover, Lover, Darling — Your Wife

So this inspired the followin’.  It goes somethin’ kinda like this:

Without You (Reprise No.2)

These lonesome nights last forever
When I miss you most, it is hardest to write
And you can tell when I force the words
The ache of it all and I cannot tell you

Cannot think of life
Without you
Like goin’ blind
No purpose, just bein’

Made for you
Ordered, delivered
To help you
To be there for you

All I want
All I need
To know
You cannot be
Without me

See you comin’
Out of every shadow
Everywhere
You hurryin’ to me

Without you; cannot
Live or laugh or love
To be apart,
It is like
Beggin’ for mercy
From a storm or Time
Or killin’ Beauty
Or growin’ old

Without you

The Song of the Day is “Without You” by David Bowie.  We do not own the rights to this song.  All rights reserved by the rightful owner.  No copyright infringement intended.

George Meredith
George Meredith by George Frederic Watts.jpg

George Meredith in 1893 by George Frederic Watts

Today is the birthday of George Meredith (Portsouth, Hampshire 12 February 1828 – 18 May 1909 Box Hill, Surrey); English novelist and poet of the Victorian era.

On 9 August 1849, Meredith married Mary Ellen Nicolls (née Peacock), a beautiful widow with a daughter.  In 1858 she ran off with the painter Henry Wallis, shortly before giving birth to a child assumed to be Wallis’.  Mary Ellen died in 1861.

On 20 September 1864, Meredith married Marie Vulliamy.  She died of cancer in 1886.

Verse

  • Darker grows the valley, more and more forgetting:
    So were it with me if forgetting could be willed.
    Tell the grassy hollow that holds the bubbling well-spring,
    Tell it to forget the source that keeps it filled.

    • Love in the Valley, st. 5.
  • Civil limitation daunts
    His utterance never; the nymphs blush, not he.

    • An Orson of the Muse (1883).
  • With patient inattention hear him prate.
    • Bellerophon, st. 4 (1887).
  • Full lasting is the song, though he,
    The singer, passes

    • The Thrush in February, st. 17 (1888).
  • Behold the life at ease; it drifts,
    The sharpened life commands its course.

    • Hard Weather, l. 71 (1888).
  • All wisdom’s armoury this man could wield
    • The Sage Enamoured (1892).

Modern Love (1862)

  • Not till the fire is dying in the grate,
    Look we for any kinship with the stars.
    Oh, wisdom never comes when it is gold,
    And the great price we pay for it full worth:
    We have it only when we are half earth.

    • St. 4.
  • And if I drink oblivion of a day,
    So shorten I the stature of my soul.

    • St. 12.
  • The actors are, it seems, the usual three:
    Husband and wife and lover.

    • St. 25.
  • What are we first? First, animals; and next
    Intelligences at a leap; on whom
    Pale lies the distant shadow of the tomb,
    And all that draweth on the tomb for text.
    Into which state comes Love, the crowning sun:
    Beneath whose light the shadow loses form.
    We are the lords of life, and life is warm.
    Intelligence and instinct now are one.
    But nature says: ‘My children most they seem
    When they least know me: therefore I decree
    That they shall suffer.’ Swift doth young Love flee,
    And we stand wakened, shivering from our dream.
    Then if we study Nature we are wise.

    • St. 30.
  • How many a thing which we cast to the ground,
    When others pick it up, becomes a gem!

    • St. 41..
  • In tragic life, God wot,
    No villain need be! Passions spin the plot:
    We are betrayed by what is false within.

    • St. 43.
  • More brain, O Lord, more brain! or we shall mar
    Utterly this fair garden we might win.

    • St. 48.
  • Ah, what a dusty answer gets the soul
    When hot for certainties in this our life! –
    In tragic hints here see what evermore
    Moves dark as yonder midnight ocean’s force,
    Thundering like ramping hosts of warrior horse,
    To throw that faint thin fine upon the shore!

    • St. 50.
Eugène Atget
BNF - Portrait d'Eugène Atget - 1890 - 001.jpg

Organ Grinder (1898)

Today is the birthday of Eugène Atget (Libourne, Gironde, Aquitaine; 12 February 1857 – 4 August 1927 Paris); French flâneur and a pioneer of documentary photography, noted for his determination to document all of the architecture and street scenes of Paris before their disappearance to modernization.  Most of his photographs were first published by Berenice Abbott after his death.  An inspiration for the surrealists and other artists, his genius was only recognized by a handful of young artists in the last two years of his life, and he did not live to see the wide acclaim his work would eventually receive.

Gallery

Avenue des Gobelins (1927)

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The Lovers’ Almanac 11 February – Between Two Visions – Napoleon’s Love Letter to Josephine – art by Ellen Day Hale & Carlo Carrà

 Dear Zazie,  Here is today’s Lovers’ Almanac from Mac Tag.  Follow us on twitter @cowboycoleridge.  With Valentine’s Day around the corner, who will your thoughts turn to?  Are you caught between two visions?  Rhett

The Lovers’ Almanac

Dear Muse,

the same thoughts
pictures, memories
of yesterdays
of evenin’s past

what effect you have
have not spent a day
without these thoughts
have not spent a night
without embracin’
what is left

have not so much as had one doubt
about the fates which have intervened
and the movin’ spirits of life
in the midst of the day,
whether workin’ or writin’
listenin’ to music
or immersed in art
one stands alone
in all that is done

© copyright 2018 mac tag/cowboy coleridge all rights reserved

“What are you looking for?”
nothin’, hope maybe
hell if I know
“I think I know.”
oh yeah, what
“Mirrors. Mirrors
of your pain.”

a feelin’, a process
of bein’ slowly purged
of need, that had lain
dormant within for years

just tryin’ to say
a little
of what is inside
but cannot
find the words
nor the voice
to utter them

© copyright 2017 Mac tag/cowboy Coleridge all rights reserved

Valentine’s Day is this week, and we are celebratin’ with love letters from the literary world and beyond.

Josephine_by_AppianiThere are many prevailing popular perceptions of Emperor Napoleon of France.  While his name does not often conjure images of a sweet hopeless romantic who pined for an older woman, the letters he wrote to his beloved Josephine reveal as much.  In December 1795, he wrote to her:

I wake filled with thoughts of you. Your portrait and the intoxicating evening which we spent yesterday have left my senses in turmoil. Sweet, incomparable Josephine, what a strange effect you have on my heart! … You are leaving at noon; I shall see you in three hours. Until then, mio dolce amor, a thousand kisses; but give me none in return, for they set my blood on fire.

Napoleon and Josephine were married in 1796; he was 26 and she was 32, a widow. He wrote to her from all across Europe, when he was out waging military campaigns. The year they married he wrote to her:

I have not spent a day without loving you; I have not spent a night without embracing you; I have not so much as drunk one cup of tea without cursing the pride and ambition which force me to remain apart from the moving spirit of my life. In the midst of my duties, whether I am at the head of my army or inspecting the camps, my beloved Josephine stands alone in my heart, occupies my mind, fills my thoughts. If I am moving away from you with the speed of the Rhone torrent, it is only that I may see you  again more quickly. If I rise to work in the middle of the night, it is because this may hasten by a matter of days the arrival of my sweet love. … I ask of you neither eternal love, nor fidelity, but simply … truth, unlimited honesty. The day you say ‘I love you less,’ will mark the end of my love and the last day of my life. If my heart were base enough to love without being loved in  return I would tear it to pieces. Josephine! Josephine! Remember what I have sometimes said to you: Nature has endowed me with a virile and decisive character. It has built ours out of lace and gossamer. Have you ceased to love me? Forgive me, love of my life, my soul is racked by conflicting forces.

My heart, obsessed by you, is full of fears which prostrate me with misery … I am distressed not to be calling you by name. I shall wait for you to write it. Farewell! Ah! If you love me less you can never have loved me. In that case I shall truly be pitiable.

Bonaparte

P.S. — The war this year has changed beyond recognition. I have had meat, bread, and fodder distributed; my armed cavalry will soon be on the march. My soldiers are showing inexpressible confidence in me; you alone are a source of chagrin to me; you alone are the joy and torment of my life.

So naturally, I could not resist turnin’ these letters into poems.  The Song of the Day goes on the list of all-time great songs.  Hope you like……

Thoughts of You

Wake, filled with thoughts of you
Your picture and the memories
Of evenin’s which we spent
In our yesterdays
Have left me in turmoil
Sweet, incomparable Muse,
What an effect you have
Have not spent a day
Without lovin’ you;
Have not spent a night
Without embracin’ you
Have not so much as had one thought,
Without cursin’ the fates which forced me
Apart from the movin’ spirit of my life
In the midst of my day, whether
I am workin’ cattle or ridin’ fences,
Whether I am readin’ or writin’
My Muse stands alone in my dreams,
Occupies my mind, fills my thoughts
If only you filled my arms instead

Between Two Visions

Remember when;
Found a poem by Wordsworth
That described you near perfect

Accused you of holdin’ out on me
By not tellin’ you were a time traveler
Now is the time to turn the clock back

11 February 1890 Denver CO

Dear Muse,

Leavin’ at noon; shall see you in three days
Until then, mio dolce amor, thousand of kisses;
But give none in return,
For they set my blood on fire

If by movin’ out here
Seemed that I was movin’ away
From you with the speed of a good horse,
It is only that I may build this dream
Only that we may have this place
To grow with us and sustain us
When I rise before daylight,
It is because this may hasten
By one day, your arrival

I ask of you, only love
The day you say ‘I love you less, ‘
Will mark the end,
The last day
If my heart were base enough
To love without bein’ loved
In return, I would cast it aside

Remember what I have said:
Nature has endowed me with a vision
Hopefully, yours is built of patience
For not happenstance but only death
Can halt what has already begun
I cannot be handled, but
I can be held for a little while
I pray these little whiles are enough
I pray you continue
To hold on to the reins

Were you to cease to love
My soul would be conflicted
My heart, obsessed by you and this vision,
Fills with fear; prostrates with misery
Distresses so, to even think so

Then this: If you love less
You can never have loved
In that case I shall truly be pitiable
I remain, your devoted,

Mac Tag

P. S. The ranch this year
Has changed beyond recogntion
My confidence in success is inexpressible;
You alone; a source of chagrin to me
You alone; the joy and torment of my life

Ciao Bella
The Songs of the Day are “Thoughts of You” by Dennis Wilson.  We do not own the rights to this song.  All rights reserved by the rightful owner.  No copyright infringement intended.

Ellen Day Hale
Self-Portrait, by Ellen Day Hale.jpg

Self-Portrait, oil on canvas, 1885, (28 1/2″ x 39″) Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Today is the birthday of Ellen Day Hale (Worcester, Massachusetts; February 11, 1855 – February 11, 1940 Brooklin, Massachusetts); American Impressionist painter and printmaker from Boston.  She studied art in Paris and during her adult life lived in Paris, London and Boston.  She exhibited at the Paris Salon and the Royal Academy of Arts.  Hale wrote the book History of Art: A Study of the Lives of Leonardo, Michelangelo, Raphael, Titian, and Albrecht Dürer and mentored the next generation of New England female artists, paving the way for widespread acceptance of female artists.

Gallery

Lilies, circa 1890s, oil on canvas (26″ x 15″)

Morning News, 1905, oil on canvas (50″ x 36″)

Although Hale never married, she found a lifelong partner in fellow artist Gabrielle de Veaux Clements, whom she met in 1883.  Hale and Clements became close friends in 1885 while they were enrolled at the Académie Julian in Paris.  While traveling and studying in Europe together, Clements taught Hale how to etch.  In 1893, the two artists returned to the United States.  They moved into a house near Gloucester, Massachusetts together and named it “The Thickets”.

Summer Place, 1925, watercolor

June, 1893, oil on canvas (24″ x 18 1/8″)

The Willow Whistle, 1888. Etching, paper: 24 3⁄4″ x 17 3⁄4″; plate: 15 1⁄2″ x 8 1⁄2″

Carlo Carrà
Carrà in front of Le Figaro, Paris, 9 February 1912 (cropped).jpg

Carrà in front of Le Figaro, Paris, February 9, 1912

Today is the birthday of Carlo Carrà (Quargnento February 11, 1881 – April 13, 1966 Milan); Italian painter and a leading figure of the Futurist movement that flourished in Italy during the beginning of the 20th century.  In addition to his many paintings, he wrote a number of books concerning art.  He taught for many years in the city of Milan.

Gallery

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The Lovers’ Almanac 10 February – Choices – verse by John Suckling – art by Roberto Bompiani

Dear Zazie, Here is today’s Lovers’ Almanac from Mac Tag dedicated to his muse. Follow us on twitter @cowboycoleridge. Rhett

The Lovers’ Almanac

Dear Muse,

choices and chances
taken and avoided
some hard
some easy
and some fancy
helluva thing
what little separates
the good ones
from the bad
and how hard it is
to tell the difference
between the ones
you should take
and the ones
you should leave alone

© copyright 2018 mac tag/cowboy coleridge all rights reserved

“Are all things meant to be
or do things happen
by accident?”
no, there are accidents
and there are  choices
that must be made
and sometimes
the choices
are not ours to make
i do what i do
because someone
made a choice
“What choice, who?”
(an answer, maybe because
this would be the last time)
you, the choice you made
(silence, sadness)
“I had no idea.”
you must have
(eyes shut tight,
silent sobs,
and a hug)

how long they stayed
like that…
the only thoughts,
that these moments
were all that would ever be

© copyright 2017  mac tag/cowboy Coleridge all rights reserved

Sir John Suckling
Suckling.jpg

Sir John Suckling as painted by Van Dyck.

Today is the birthday of Sir John Suckling (Whitton, London 10 February 1609 – after May 1641); poet and prominent figure among those renowned for careless gaiety and wit, the accomplishments of a Cavalier poet. He was also the inventor of the card game cribbage. He is best known for his poem “Ballad Upon a Wedding”.

 The accounts of how he died vary. Alexander Pope, writing in anecdote the next century, stated he had died after arriving in Calaisof fever from a wound in his foot caused by a nail having been driven into his boot by a servant who absconded with his money and papers. He was certainly in Paris in the summer of 1641, when on 3 July Sir Francis Windebanke wrote to his son that Parliament had stopped pensions it had been paying himself, Suckling and Jermyn. One pamphlet related a story of his elopement with a lady to Spain, where he fell into the hands of the Inquisition. A theory that he committed suicide by poison in Paris, in fear of poverty is generally accepted. He was buried at a Protestant cemetery in the city.

Verse

I Prithee Send Me Back My Heart

I prithee send me back my heart,
Since I cannot have thine;
For if from yours you will not part,
Why then shouldst thou have mine?

Yet now I think on’t, let it lie,
To find it were in vain;
For th’hast a thief in either eye
Would steal it back again.

Why should two hearts in one breast lie,
And yet not lodge together?
O love, where is thy sympathy,
If thus our breasts thou sever?

But love is such a mystery,
I cannot find it out;
For when I think I’m best resolv’d,
I then am most in doubt.

Then farewell care, and farewell woe,
I will no longer pine;
For I’ll believe I have her heart
As much as she hath mine.

Song

Why so pale and wan, fond lover?
Prithee, why so pale?
Will, when looking well can’t move her,
Looking ill prevail?
Prithee, why so pale?

Why so dull and mute, young sinner?
Prithee, why so mute?
Will, when speaking well can’t win her,
Saying nothing do’t?
Prithee, why so mute?

Quit, quit, for shame, this will not move:
This cannot take her.
If of herself she cannot love,
Nothing can make her:
The devil take her!

  • Oh for some honest lover’s ghost,
    Some kind unbodied post
    Sent from the shades below!
    I strangely long to know
    Whether the nobler chaplets wear
    Those that their mistress’ scorn did bear,
    Or those that were used kindly.

    • Oh! For some honest lover’s ghost.
  • Her feet beneath her petticoat
    Like little mice stole in and out,
    As if they feared the light;
    But oh, she dances such a way!
    No sun upon an Easter-day
    Is half so fine a sight.

    • Ballad upon a Wedding.

Today is the birthday of Roberto Bompiani (Rome; February 10, 1821 – January 19, 1908 Rome); Italian painter and sculptor.

 Self-portrait

Pompeian Figure

Parassita

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The Lovers’ Almanac 9 February – Sketchin’ – art by Alberto Vargas

Dear Zazie, Here is today’s Lovers’ Almanac from Mac Tag dedicated to his muse. Follow us on twitter @cowboycoleridge. Rhett

The Lovers’ Almanac

Dear Muse,

oh, it is all about
the eyes, the smile
and the hands

come be my canvas
and i will ketch for you
a love unlike anything
you have ever known

© copyright 2018 mac tag/cowboy coleridge all rights reserved

a shaky start
to be sure,
but gradually
the rhythm came came back
and the strokes became strong
and bold again, the touch, still there

i love that you made me
yearn to once again sketch

© copyright 2017 mac tag/cowboy Coleridge all rights reserved

Alberto Vargas
Alberto vargas young.gif

Vargas in New York, ca. 1919

Today is the birthday of Joaquin Alberto Vargas y Chávez ( Arequipa, Peru 9 February 1896 – 30 December 1982 Los Angeles); Peruvian painter of pin-up girls.  He is often considered one of the most famous of the pin-up artists.

Gallery

Theatrical release poster
Artwork by Alberto Vargas

“Memories of Olive” (1920).

The death of his wife Anna Mae in 1974 left him devastated, and he stopped painting.  Anna Mae had been his model and business manager, his muse in every way.  The publication of his autobiography in 1978 renewed interest in his work and brought him partially out of his self-imposed retirement to do a few works, such as album covers for The Cars (Candy-O, 1979) and Bernadette Peters (Bernardette Peters, 1980; Now Playing, 1981).  He died of a stroke at the age of 86.

Notable women painted by Vargas include Olive Thomas, Billie Burke, Nita Naldi, Marilyn Miller, Paulette Goddard, Bernadette Peters, Irish McCalla and Ruth Etting.

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