The Lover’s Almanac 14 September – Show Me – Remembrance – the art and love and sorrow of Richard Gerstl

Dear Zazie,   Here is today’s Lover’s Almanac from Mac Tag dedicated to his muse.  Follow us on twitter @cowboycoleridge.  What first kiss special memories do you have?   Rhett

The Lover’s Almanac

Dear Muse,

have you been intimate
with beauty and sorrow
then we are kindred
nothin’ else matters
aside from beauty
and sorrow

and I will only ever
ask one thing of you
show me, share with me
your beauty and sorrow

© copyright mac tag/cowboy Coleridge all rights reserved


Age has chilled my blood
And my pleasures are past
If nothin’ else
I will have this
My dearest remembrance
Will be till the last
The memory
Of that first kiss

© copyright 2012 mac tag/Cowboy Coleridge all rights reserved

Today I was thinkin’ about a very special first kiss, which occured on this day and a first kiss that never happened.  Jett told me about a conversation he had with his great unrequited love.  He said he remembered tellin’ her that first kisses were his favorite memories from past relationships.  She told him she understood but she preferred the prelude to the kiss –  the build-up, the “playing it out in your head” dozens of times before it happens, the “you know it’s going to happen, it’s just a matter of time.”  They never had that first kiss.  It is Jett’s biggest regret.

The Poem of the Day comes to us from Lord Byron:

The First Kiss Of Love

Away with your fictions of flimsy romance;
Those tissues of falsehood which folly has wove!
Give me the mild beam of the soul-breathing glance,
Or the rapture which dwells on the first kiss of love.

Ye rhymers, whose bosoms with phantasy glow,
Whose pastoral passions are made for the grove;
From what blest inpiration your sonnets would flow,
Could you ever have tasted the first kiss of love!

If Apollo should e’er his assistance refuse,
Or the Nine be desposed from your service to rove,
Invoke them no more, bid adieu to the muse,
and try the effect of the first kiss of love.

I hate you, ye cold compositions of art!
Though prudes may condemn me, and bigots reprove,
I court the effusions that spring from the heart,
Which throbes with delight to the first kiss of love.

Your shepherds, your flocks, those fantastical themes,
Perhapes may amuse, yet they never can move:
Arcadia displays but a region of dreams:
What are visions like these to the first kiss of love?

Oh! cease to affirm that man, since his birth,
From Adam till now, has with wretchedness strove,
Some portion of paradise still is on earth,
And Eden revives in the first kiss of love.

When age chills the blood, when our pleasures are past-
For years fleet away with the wings of the dove-
The dearest rememberance will still be the last,
Our sweetest memorial the first kiss of love.

The Song of the Day is “First Kiss” by Ryan O’Shaughnessy. 

Francisco de Quevedo
Quevedo (copia de Velázquez).jpg

Francisco de Quevedo, Juan van der Hamen? after a painting by Diego Velázquez

Today is the birthday of Francisco Gómez de Quevedo y Santibáñez Villegas (Madrid; 14 September 1580 – 8 September 1645 Villanueva de los Infantes); Spanish nobleman, politician and writer of the Baroque era.  Along with his lifelong rival, Luis de Góngora, Quevedo was one of the most prominent Spanish poets of the age.  His style is characterized by what was called conceptismo.  This style existed in stark contrast to Góngora’s culteranismo.


Ayer se fue, mañana no ha llegado,
Hoy se está yendo sin parar un punto;
Soy un fue, y un seré y un es cansado 

Pues amarga la verdad
quiero echarla de mi boca
Un nuevo corazón, un hombre nuevo
ha menester, señor, el alma mía.
¡Desnúdame de mí, que ser podría
que a tu piedad pagase lo que debo!
(soneto “Un nuevo corazón, un hombre nuevo…”)

Semi-nude Self-portrait against a Blue Background, 1904/5

Today is the birthday of Richard Gerstl (14 September 1883 – 4 November 1908); Austrian painter and draughtsman known for his expressive psychologically insightful portraits, his lack of critical acclaim during his lifetime, and his affair with the wife of Arnold Schoenberg which led to his suicide.

Arnold Schoenberg by Gerstl

Lake Traun with Mountain Sleeping Greek Woman

Around 1907, he began to associate with composers Arnold Schoenberg and Alexander von Zemlinsky, who lived in the same building at the time. Gerstl and Schoenberg developed a mutual admiration based upon their individual talents. Gerstl apparently instructed Schoenberg in art.

During this time, Gerstl moved into a flat in the same house and painted several portraits of Schoenberg, his family, and his friends. These portraits also included paintings of Schoenberg’s wife Mathilde, Alban Berg and Zemlinsky. His highly stylized heads anticipated German expressionism and used pastels as in the works by Oskar Kokoschka. Gerstl and Mathilde became extremely close and, in the summer of 1908, she left her husband and children to travel to Vienna with Gerstl. Schoenberg was in the midst of composing his Second String Quartet, which he dedicated to her. Mathilde rejoined her husband in October.

Distraught by the loss of Mathilde, his isolation from his associates, and his lack of artistic acceptance, Gerstl entered his studio during the night of 4 November 1908 and apparently burned every letter and piece of paper he could find. Although many paintings survived the fire, it is believed that a great deal of his artwork as well as personal papers and letters were destroyed. Other than his paintings, only eight drawings are known to have survived unscathed. Following the burning of his papers, Gerstl hanged himself in front of the studio mirror and somehow managed to stab himself as well. He was 25.

The incident had a significant impact on Arnold Schoenberg and his “drama with music” (i.e., opera) Die Glückliche Hand is based on these events.

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