The Lovers’ Almanac 12 November – Moment – Bein’ Embraced

Dear Zazie,  Here is today’s Lovers’ Almanac from Mac Tag dedicated to his muse.  Who do you embrace and who returns to embrace you?  Rhett

The Lovers’ Almanac

Dear Muse,

trapped in the amber
of any moment with you,
suits me just fine

against the backdrop
of another place and time
amidst whisperin’s
of passion and tenderness
bodies embrace
the totem spins…
the purpose grows bright
on this I cannot help but throw myself
in reveries revisited again and again
© copyright 2017 mac tag/cowboy Coleridge all rights reserved
  • “how much do you know
  • about fear”
  • all there is
  • “room service”
  • I did not order anything
  • not even you
  • La forza del destino
  • I know, I know
  • you think I do not know that
  • never said I was not willin’ to pay the price
  • “Think on your sins”
  • Every dang day
  • Do you think
  • you’ll be able to sleep now”
  • I do not think the dead care
  • “I wish I could set you free”
  • Me too
  • Quantum of solace
  • I suppose
  • In the verse
  • In you

Today a vignette, a poem and a song.  All for you.

She tried to turn away from him, but he would not let her.  He took her arm and turned her to face him.  She started to speak but he put his finger to her lips. They stood there lookin’ into each other’s eyes for a moment.  A moment that lengthened and lingered.  A moment that became somethin’.  Somethin’ they both needed.  He knew it.  She knew it.  Then he took her in his arms and he held her.  He held her firmly and she allowed herself to flow into the strength of his embrace, their embrace, an embrace that from then on would always be there.  He slowly released her and took her hand and led her down the sidewalk to a bench.  They sat on the bench as one.  As they leaned back they leaned into each other and his arms once again went around her and they gave themselves to the embrace.  All there was, all that mattered was the embrace and their thoughts.  His were there with her and hers took her where she had to go.  They stayed there as if askin’ the world to wait.  They were sustained by each other, by two hearts findin’ unison, by the embrace.

Bein’ Embraced

Against the backdrop of fall; another place and time
Amidst whisperin’s of passion and tenderness
Adored bodies embrace, swellin’ and tremblin’
The totem spins…
Pleasure bursts in the gleamin’ flesh
The purpose of life grows bright,
Shimmerin’ and desperate
In the shadows, around the Vision

Shiverin’s mutter and rise
The furious affect of these feelin’s smolder
With fervent whisperin’ and tender caress
No matter that reality, hurls at this embrace
The totem keeps spinnin’…
Bodies cling, flesh joins

To see your face

To kiss your lips

To be in your embrace

On this I cannot help but throw myself
In reveries revisited again and again

© copyright 2012 mac tag/Cowboy Coleridge all rights reserved

The Song of the Day is “Embrace” by Dazzled Kid.


Mac Tag

Follow us on twitter @cowboycoleridge

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The Lovers’ Almanac 11 November – Pinot Night – art by Paul Signac & Édouard Vuillard

Dear Zazie,  Here is today’s Lovers’ Almanac from Mac Tag dedicated to his muse.  Rhett

The Lovers’ Almanac

Dear Muse,

can there be
anything better
than cookin’ a fine meal
with a fine woman…

imagine me and you
in a kitchen
fixin’ this menu…
steak carpaccio
with fresh spinach
and arugula
red wine risotto
with fresh basil
and garlic
and for dessert
raspberry cream cupcakes
with a dark chocolate drizzle
and of course a bottle,
well maybe two,
of pinot noir

after that meal
and drinkin’
sex in a glass
and the way
we look at each other
yeah, the dishes
can wait till mornin’…

© copyright 2017 mac tag/cowboy Coleridge all rights reserved

Paul Signac
Paul Signac, ca. 1883.jpg

Paul Signac with his palette, ca. 1883

Today is the birthday of Paul Victor Jules Signac (Paris; 11 November 1863 – 15 August 1935 Paris); French Neo-Impressionist painter who, working with Georges Seurat, helped develop the Pointillist style.



Paul Signac, Portrait of Félix Fénéon, 1890, oil on canvas, 73.5 × 92.5 cm (28.9 × 36.4 in), Museum of Modern Art, New York


Georges Seurat Portrait of Paul Signac, 1890, conté crayon, private collection


In the Time of Harmony. The Golden Age is not in the Past, it is in the Future, 1893-95, oil on canvas, 310 x 410 cm (122 × 161.4 in), Mairie de Montreuil 


Capo di Noli, 1898, oil on canvas, 93.5 × 75 cm (36.8 × 29.5 in), Wallraf-Richartz Museum, Cologne 


The Port of Saint-Tropez, 1901, oil on canvas, 131 x 161.5 cm (51.6 x 63.6 in) National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo 


Paul Signac, 1893, Femme à l’ombrelle (Woman with Umbrella), oil on canvas, 81 x 65 cm, Musée d’Orsay, Paris; a portrait of Signac’s wife Berthe, painted at Saint-Tropez

On 7 November 1892 Signac married Berthe Roblès at the town hall of the 18th arrondissement of Paris.  Witnesses at the wedding were Alexandre Lemonier, Maximilien Luce, Camille Pissarro and Georges Lecomte.  In November 1897, the Signacs moved to a new apartment in the Castel Béranger, built by Hector Guimard.  In December of the same year, they acquired a house in Saint-Tropez called La Hune, where he had a studio constructed.

In September 1913, Signac rented a house at Antibes, where he settled with Jeanne Selmersheim-Desgrange.  Signac had left La Hune as well as the Castel Beranger apartment to Berthe.  They remained friends for the rest of his life.

Paul Signac died from septicemia at the age of 71.  His body was cremated and buried three days later, on 18 August, at the Père Lachaise Cemetery. 

Édouard Vuillard
Édouard Vuillard 001.jpg

Self-portrait, 1889, oil on canvas

Today is the birthday of Jean-Édouard Vuillard (Cuiseaux, Saône-et-Loire; 11 November 1868 – 21 June 1940 La Baule, Loire-Atlantique); French painter and printmaker associated with the Nabis.


Ker-Xavier Roussel, Édouard Vuillard, Romain Coolus, Félix Vallotton, 1899

Le corsage rayé, 1895, National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C., Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon (1983.1.38).

Two Seamstresses in the Workroom

Le Grand Teddy, 1918, glue distemper on canvas, 150 x 290 cm, the largest of the three paintings commissioned from Vuillard in 1918 for the Paris café “Le Grand Teddy”

The Table by Vuillard, 1902 

Breakfast, 1894, oil on cardboard, 26.9 x 22.9 cm. (Zoom)

Mac Tag

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The Lovers’ Almanac 10 November – Dream Noir – William Hogarth – Verdi’s La forza del destino

Dear Zazie,  Here is today’s Lovers’ Almanac from Mac Tag dedicated to his muse.  Rhett

The Lovers’ Almanac

Dear Muse,

or how ’bout this dream…
over shared bottles
of superb pinot noir,
also called the most
romantic of wines,
or sex in a glass,
we laugh and talk

and on this night,
time does not exist

© copyright 2017 mac tag/cowboy Coleridge all rights reserved

William Hogarth
The Painter and His Pug by William Hogarth.jpg

William Hogarth, Painter and his Pug, 1745

Today is the birthday of William Hogarth FRSA (London; 10 November 1697 – 26 October 1764 London); English painter, printmaker, pictorial satirist, social critic, and editorial cartoonist who has been credited with pioneering western sequential art.  His work ranged from realistic portraiture to comic strip-like series of pictures called “modern moral subjects”.  Knowledge of his work is so pervasive that satirical political illustrations in this style are often referred to as “Hogarthian”.


William Hogarth by Roubiliac, 1741, National Portrait Gallery, London 

The Assembly at Wanstead House.

Self-Portrait by Hogarth, ca. 1735, Yale Center for British Art. 

A Rake’s Progress, Plate 8, 1735, and retouched by Hogarth in 1763 by adding the Britannia emblem 

Marriage à-la-mode, Shortly After the Marriage (scene two of six).

Marriage à-la-mode, After the old Earl’s funeral (scene four of six) 

Industry and Idleness Plate 1, The Fellow ‘Prentices at their Looms 

Gin Lane 


David Garrick as Richard III, 1746

Portrait of a Man, 1741 


Eva Marie Veigel and husband David Garrick, c. 1757–1764, Royal Collection at Windsor Castle. 

The Analysis of Beauty plate 1 (1753) 

On 23 March 1729 Hogarth married Jane Thornhill, daughter of artist Sir James Thornhill.

Hogarth died in London on 26 October 1764 and was buried at St. Nicholas Church, Chiswick, London.  His friend, actor David Garrick, composed the following inscription for his tombstone:

Farewell great Painter of Mankind
Who reach’d the noblest point of Art
Whose pictur’d Morals charm the Mind
And through the Eye correct the Heart.
If Genius fire thee, Reader, stay,
If Nature touch thee, drop a Tear:
If neither move thee, turn away,
For Hogarth’s honour’d dust lies here.



La forza del destino
Opera by Giuseppe Verdi
Alexandre Charles Lecocq - Giuseppe Verdi - La forza del destino.jpg

c. 1870 poster by Charles Lecocq

On this day in 1862, La forza del destino (The Power of Fate, or The Force of Destiny); an Italian opera by Giuseppe Verdi had its premiere in the Bolshoi Kamenny Theatre of Saint Petersburg, Russia.  The libretto was written by Francesco Maria Piave based on a Spanish drama, Don Álvaro o la fuerza del sino (1835), by Ángel de Saavedra, 3rd Duke of Rivas, with a scene adapted from Friedrich Schiller’s Wallensteins Lager.

La forza del destino is frequently performed, and there have been a number of complete recordings.  In addition, the overture (to the revised version of the opera) is part of the standard repertoire for orchestras, often played as the opening piece at concerts.

First edition (1862) of the libretto of La forza del destino, Saint Petersburg, with bilingual Italian and Russian text. 




1860s postcard showing Act IV. 

Enrico Caruso, Jose Mardones and Rosa Ponselle in a 1918 Metropolitan Opera performance.

Forza is an opera that many old school Italian singers felt was “cursed” and brought bad luck.  The superstitious Luciano Pavarotti avoided the part of Alvaro.

On 4 March 1960 at the Metropolitan Opera, in a performance of La Forza del Destino with Renata Tebaldi and tenor Richard Tucker, the American baritone Leonard Warren was about to launch into the vigorous cabaletta to Don Carlo’s Act 3 aria, which begins “Morir, tremenda cosa” (“to die, a momentous thing”).  Warren either simply went silent and fell face-forward to the floor, or started coughing and gasping, and cried out “Help me, help me!” before falling to the floor, remaining motionless.  A few minutes later he was pronounced dead of a massive cerebral hemorrhage, and the rest of the performance was canceled.  Warren was only 48.

The “Curse” prompted singers and others to do strange things to fend off possible bad luck.  The great Italian tenor Franco Corelli was rumored to have held on to his groin during some of his performances of the opera as “protection.”

Mac Tag

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The Lovers’ Almanac 9 November – Someday; Breathless – verse by Anne Sexton

Dear Zazie,  Here is today’s Lovers’ Almanac from Mac Tag dedicated to his muse.  Has your someday come?  What leaves you breathless?  Rhett

The Lovers’ Almanac

Dear Muse,

have you ever wished
that  someone
would take you away

someone will come and stay
then you will feel,
À bout de souffle,
at breath’s end

miss feelin’ breathless
when you were near

© copyright 2017 mac tag/cowboy Coleridge all rights reserved

someday came and left
miss feelin’ breathless
when you were near

À_bout_de_souffle_(movie_poster)Today two original poems.  The first inspired by somethin’ you once said to me and the second inspired by a movie I recently watched; the 1960 French film À bout de souffle (Breathless) featurin’ the lovely and talented Jean Seberg and Jean-Paul Belmondo.  Consider this the official notification that this film belongs on the must-see film list.

Do you remember when you said you wished someone would take you away?


Love will find a way
Love will come your way
Love will take you away
Love will save the day
Love will come and stay

Then you will feel,

À bout de souffle, at breath’s end,


All over tremblin’

Holdin’ on believin’

Carried away gettin’
Givin’ in to the feelin’
Not fearin’ bein’

© copyright 2012 mac tag/Cowboy Coleridge all rights reserved

The two songs of the day are “Someday” by Tegan and Sara and “Breathless” by The Corrs.

My someday came and left.  I miss feelin’ breathless when you were near.

Anne Sexton
Head and shoulders monochrome portrait photo of Anne Sexton, seated with books in the background

Anne Sexton photographed by Elsa Dorfman

Today is the birthday of Anne Sexton (Newton, Massachusetts; November 9, 1928 – October 4, 1974 Weston); American poet, known for her highly personal, confessional verse.  She won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 1967 for her book Live or Die.  Themes of her poetry include her long battle against depression and mania, suicidal tendencies, and various intimate details from her private life, including her relationships with her husband and children.

On October 4, 1974, Sexton had lunch with Maxine Kumin to revise galleys for Sexton’s manuscript of The Awful Rowing Toward God, scheduled for publication in March 1975 (Middlebrook 396).  On returning home she put on her mother’s old fur coat, removed all her rings, poured herself a glass of vodka, locked herself in her garage, and started the engine of her car, committing suicide by carbon monoxide poisoning.

In an interview over a year before her death, she explained she had written the first drafts of The Awful Rowing Toward God in twenty days with “two days out for despair and three days out in a mental hospital.”  She is buried at Forest Hills Cemetery & Crematory in Jamaica Plain, Boston, Massachusetts.


  • We are all writing God’s poem.
    • As quoted by Erica Jong, in “Into the lion’s den” in The Guardian (26 October 2000)

To Bedlam and Part Way Back (1960)

  • Even so, I must admire your skill.
    You are so gracefully insane.

    • “Elegy in the Classroom”
    • Referring to Robert Lowell
  • Love your self’s self where it lives.
    There is no special God to refer to; or if there is,
    why did I let you grow
    in another place. You did not know my voice
    when I came back to call. All the superlatives
    of tomorrow’s white tree and mistletoe
    will not help you know the holidays you had to miss.

    • “The Double Image”
  • I rot on the wall, my own
    Dorian Gray.

    • “The Double Image”
  • I imitate
    a memory of belief
    that I do not own.

    • “The Division of Parts”
  • I have ridden in your cart, driver,
    waved my nude arms at villages going by,
    learning the last bright routes, survivor
    where your flames still bite my thigh
    and my ribs crack where your wheels wind.
    A woman like that is not ashamed to die.
    I have been her kind.

    • “Her Kind”

All My Pretty Ones (1962)

  • All who love have lied.
    • “The Operation”
  • Fact: death too is in the egg.
    Fact: the body is dumb, the body is meat.
    And tomorrow the O.R. Only the summer was sweet.

    • “The Operation”
  • Need is not quite belief.
    • “With Mercy for the Greedy”
  • Dearest,
    although everything has happened,
    nothing has happened.

    • “Letter Written on a Ferry While Crossing Long Island Sound”
  • A woman who writes feels too much,
    those trances and portents!
    As if cycles and children and islands
    weren’t enough; as if mourners and gossips
    and vegetables were never enough.
    She thinks she can warm the stars.
    A writer is essentially a spy.
    Dear love, I am that girl.

    • “The Black Art”
  • It would be pleasant to be drunk:
    faithless to my tongue and hands,
    giving up the boundaries
    for the heroic gin.
    Dead drunk is the term I think of,
    neither cool nor warm,
    without a head or foot.
    To be drunk is to be intimate with a fool.
    I will try it shortly.

    • “Letter Written During a January Northeaster”
  • And what of the dead? They lie without shoes
    in their stone boats. They are more like stone
    than the sea would be if it stopped. They refuse
    to be blessed, throat, eye and knucklebone.

    • “The Truth the Dead Know”
  • In a dream you are never eighty.
    • “Old”

Live or Die (1966)

  • I was spread out daily
    and examined for flaws.

    • “Those Times…”
  • I grow old on my bitterness.
    • “Two Sons”
  • Love! That red disease —
    • “Menstruation at Forty”
  • Why have your eyes gone into their own room?
    • “Your Face on the Dog’s Neck”
  • But suicides have a special language.
    Like carpenters they want to know which tools.
    They never ask why build.

    • “Wanting to Die”

Love Poems (1969)

  • My mouth blooms like a cut.
    I’ve been wronged all year, tedious
    nights, nothing but rough elbows in them
    and delicate boxes of Kleenex calling crybaby
    crybaby, you fool!

    • “The Kiss”
  • I am alive when your fingers are.
    • “The Breast”
  • As for me, I am a watercolor.
    I wash off.

    • “For My Lover, Returning to His Wife”
  • You said the anger would come back
    just as the love did.

    • Again and Again and Again”
  • He puts his bones back on,
    Turning the clock back an hour.
    She knows flesh, that skin balloon,
    the unbound limbs, the boards,
    the roof, the removable roof.
    She is his selection, part time.
    You know the story too! Look,
    when it is over he places her,
    like a phone, back on the hook.

    • “You All Know the Story of the Other Woman”
  • Catch me. I’m your disease.
    • “Eighteen Days Without You”: December 18th

Transformations (1971)

  • Beauty is a simple passion,
    but, oh my friends, in the end
    you will dance the fire dance in iron shoes.

    • “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”

The Book of Folly (1972)

  • With a tongue like a razor he will kiss
    the mother, the child,
    and we three will color the stars black
    in memory of his mother
    who kept him chained to the food tree
    or turned him on and off like a water faucet
    and made women through all these hazy years
    the enemy with a heart of lies.

    • “The Wifebeater”
  • In my sights I carve him
    like a sculptor. I mold out
    his last look at everyone.
    I carry his eyes and his
    brain bone at every position.
    I know his male sex and I do
    march over him with my index finger.
    His mouth and his anus are one.
    I am at the center of feeling.

    • “The Assassin”
  • My eyes, those sluts, those whores, would play no more.
    • “Killing the Spring”

A Small Journal (1974)

  • It doesn’t matter who my father was; it matters who I remember he was.
    • “The Poet’s Story,” January 1, 1972 entry

The Awful Rowing Toward God (1975)

  • The tongue, the Chinese say,
    is like a sharp knife:
    it kills
    without drawing blood.

    • “The Dead Heart”
  • I am, each day,
    typing out the God
    my typewriter believes in.
    Very quick. Very intense,
    like a wolf at a live heart.

    • “Frenzy”

45 Mercy Street (1976)

  • What can I do with this memory?
    Shake the bones out of it?
    Defoliate the smile?
    Stub out the chin with cigarettes?
    Take the face of the man I love
    and squeeze my foot into it,
    when all the while my heart is making a museum?
    I love you the way the oboe plays.
    I love you the way skinny dipping makes my body feel.
    I love you the way a ripe artichoke tastes.
    Yet I fear you,
    as one in the desert fears the sun.

    • “Waking Alone” from The Divorce Papers
  • I am murdering me, where I kneeled at your kiss.
    I am pushing knives through the hands
    that created two into one.
    Our hands do not bleed at this,
    they lie still in their dishonor.

    • “Killing the Love” from The Divorce Papers
  • I am stuffing your mouth with your
    promises and watching
    you vomit them out upon my face.

    • “Killing the Love”
  • There is rust in my mouth,
    the stain of an old kiss.

    • “The Lost Lie” from The Divorce Papers

Words for Dr. Y (1978)

  • Death,
    I need my little addiction to you.
    need that tiny voice who,
    even as I rise from the sea,
    all woman, all there,
    says kill me, kill me.

    • “Letters to Dr. Y.”
  • I begin again, Dr.Y,
    this neverland journal,
    full of my own sense of filth.
    Why else keep a journal, if not
    to examine your own filth?

    • “Letters to Dr. Y.”
  • God is only mocked by believers.
    • “Letters to Dr. Y.”
  • Blue eyes wash off sometimes.
    • “Letters to Dr. Y.”
  • Here in the hospital, I say,
    that is not my body, not my body.
    I am not here for the doctors
    to read like a recipe.

    • “August 17th” from Scorpio, Bad Spider, Die: The Horoscope Poems

Poems 1971-1973 (1981)

  • We all walk softly away.
    We would stay and be the nurse but
    there are too many of us and we are too worried to help.
    It is love that walks away
    and yet we have terrible mouths
    and soft milk hands.
    We worry with like.
    We walk away like love.

    • “To Like, To Love”
  • Earth, earth
    riding your merry-go-round
    toward extinction,
    right to the roots
    thickening the oceans like gravy,
    festering in your caves,
    you are becoming a latrine.

    • “As It Was Written” from Last Poems
  • To love another is something
    like prayer and it can’t be planned, you just fall
    into its arms because your belief undoes your disbelief.

    • “Admonitions to a Special Person” (1974) from Last Poems

Mac Tag

I bade my heart build these poor rhymes:

It worked at them, day out, day in,

Building a sorrowful loveliness

Out of the battles of old times

WB Yeats

Poetry is my love, my postmark, my hands, my kitchen, my face.Anne Sexton

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The Lovers’ Almanac 8 November – Dreamin’ – prose by Bram Stoker & Margaret Mitchell – art by Demuth

Dear Zazie,  Here is today’s Lovers’ Almanac from Mac Tag dedicated to his muse.  Who is your light?  Do you dream of your light?  Rhett

The Lovers’ Almanac

Dear Muse,

I dream I may
I dream I might
have this dream
I dream tonight…

love how dreams
can take you
from one place
in your life
to the next

my current favorite dream
the one that will take me
to the next stage of my life…

we meet in an airport,
matters not where
we are walkin’ towards
each other, through
the crowd of people
when our eyes lock,
and then we are alone
standin’ there, smilin’
we hurry into
each other’s arms
I lift you in a hug
and time waits
for us

© copyright 2017 mac tag/cowboy Coleridge all rights reserved

by Unknown artist, oil on canvas, feigned oval, circa 1629

by Unknown artist, oil on canvas, feigned oval, circa 1629

Today is the anniversary of the death of poet John Milton, born in London (1608).  His first two wives died from childbirth complications.  His third wife, 31 years his junior, outlived him.  In 1643, he published a pamphlet called Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce.  He wrote: “Marriage is a cov’nant the very beeing wherof consists, not in a forc’t cohabitation, and counterfet performance of duties, but in unfained love and peace.”   Milton wrote a poem, “Light” which served as inspiration for today’s Poem of the Day.  To Milton, unfained love and you.

Dreamin’ Light

This light, offspring of the sun,
Or of the eternal coeternal beam
May I say, you are my light,
Neverendin’ approachable light
Dwelt from eternity, dwelt then in you,
Bright effluence of bright essence
Perhaps a rather pure ethereal stream,
Whose dream who shall tell? Before the sun,
Before me you were, and at your voice,
A sound I thought not to hear, I turned
The advancin’ shadows dark and deep,
Won from the void and formless infinity
You I revisit often with longing and hope,
Escaped the reality, though long detained
In that obscure sojourn, while in my flight
Through utter and through middle darkness
With these words that lead where they may,
I write of lost love and eternal night,
Taught by the Muse of Loss to venture down
The dark descent, and up to reascend,
Though hard and long: you I revisit safe,
And feel your voluptuous light; but you
Revisit not my eyes, that roll in vain
To find your piercin’ light, find no dawn;
Only the sight of you can quell this fear,
Or dim nightmares veiled. Yet not the more
Cease I to wander where the Muses haunt
Clear stream, or mountain slope, or forest hill,
Smit with the love of fervent words; beneath
The sun under the flowin’ waterfall
That pours and washes over tremblin’ flesh
Nightly I visit: this place we created
Where we lose ourselves in each other,
As time halts for us and the totem spins
I feed on these thoughts, that stir me
Harmonious words; as the poet wrote
Sonnets strident, verses verily, rhythmic rhymes
Pen this nocturnal note. Then with time
The world returns, but not to me returns
Day, or the sweet approach of dusk or dawn,
Or sight of you, or the curve of your hip,
Or your lips or eyes, or your face divine;
But clouds instead, and envelopin’ dark
Surrounds me, from the comfortin’ words
Cut off, and from the encroachin’ vastness,
Presentin’ itself with complete emptiness,
Tryin’ as I will as I might to raise myself,
But still at the entrance quite shut out
So much the dream and your lovely light
Shine on me, that alone can save me
To look into your eyes, all else falls away
Return and return again, that I may see
And tell of things invisible to mortal sight

The Song of the Day is “Dreaming Light” by Anathema


Bram Stoker
Bram Stoker 1906.jpg

Photograph of Bram Stoker circa 1906


Today is the birhtday of Abraham “Bram” Stoker (Clontarf, Dublin 8 November 1847 – 20 April 1912 London); Irish author, best known today for his 1897 Gothic novel Dracula.  During his lifetime, he was better known as the personal assistant of actor Henry Irving and business manager of the Lyceum Theatre in London, which Irving owned.


Dracula (1897)

  • I heard a heavy step approaching behind the great door, and saw through the chinks the gleam of a coming light. Then there was the sound of rattling chains and the clanking of massive bolts drawn back. A key was turned with the loud grating noise of long disuse, and the great door swung back.
    Within, stood a tall old man, clean shaven save for a long white moustache, and clad in black from head to foot, without a single speck of colour about him anywhere. He held in his hand an antique silver lamp, in which the flame burned without a chimney or globe of any kind, throwing long quivering shadows as it flickered in the draught of the open door. The old man motioned me in with his right hand with a courtly gesture, saying in excellent English, but with a strange intonation.
    “Welcome to my house! Enter freely and of your own free will!”

    • Jonathan Harker’s journal
  • I am Dracula, and I bid you welcome, Mr. Harker, to my house. Come in, the night air is chill, and you must need to eat and rest.
    • Count Dracula to Jonathan Harker
  • We are in Transylvania, and Transylvania is not England. Our ways are not your ways, and there shall be to you many strange things.
    • Dracula to Jonathan Harker
  • Listen to them — children of the night. What music they make.
    • Dracula referring to the howling of the wolves to Jonathan Harker.
  • No man knows till he has suffered from the night how sweet and dear to his heart and eye the morning can be.
    • Jonathan Harker
  • Despair has its own calms.
    • Jonathan Harker
  • Nothing is too small. I counsel you, put down in record even your doubts and surmises. Hereafter it may be of interest to you to see how true you guess. We learn from failure, not from success!
    • Professor Abraham Van Helsing to Dr. John Seward
  • He seemed so confident that I, remembering my own confidence two nights before and with the baneful result, felt awe and vague terror. It must have been my weakness that made me hesitate to tell it to my friend, but I felt it all the more, like unshed tears.
    • Dr. John Seward
  • Van Helsing and I came on here. The moment we were alone in the carriage he gave way to a regular fit of hysterics. He has denied to me since that it was hysterics, and insisted that it was only his sense of humour asserting itself under very terrible conditions. He laughed till he cried, and I had to draw down the blinds lest any one should see us and misjudge; and then he cried, till he laughed again; and laughed and cried together, just as a woman does. I tried to be stern with him, as one is to a woman under the circumstances; but it had no effect. Men and women are so different in manifestations of nervous strength or weakness! Then when his face grew grave and stern again I asked him why his mirth, and why at such a time. His reply was in a way characteristic of him, for it was logical and forceful and mysterious. He said:—
    “Ah, you don’t comprehend, friend John. Do not think that I am not sad, though I laugh. See, I have cried even when the laugh did choke me. But no more think that I am all sorry when I cry, for the laugh he come just the same. Keep it always with you that laughter who knock at your door and say, ‘May I come in?’ is not the true laughter. No! he is a king, and he come when and how he like. He ask no person; he choose no time of suitability. He say, ‘I am here.’ Behold, in example I grieve my heart out for that so sweet young girl; I give my blood for her, though I am old and worn; I give my time, my skill, my sleep; I let my other sufferers want that so she may have all. And yet I can laugh at her very grave — laugh when the clay from the spade of the sexton drop upon her coffin and say ‘Thud, thud!’ to my heart, till it send back the blood from my cheek. My heart bleed for that poor boy — that dear boy, so of the age of mine own boy had I been so blessed that he live, and with his hair and eyes the same. There, you know now why I love him so. And yet when he say things that touch my husband-heart to the quick, and make my father-heart yearn to him as to no other man — not even you, friend John, for we are more level in experiences than father and son — yet even at such a moment King Laugh he come to me and shout and bellow in my ear, ‘Here I am! here I am!’ till the blood come dance back and bring some of the sunshine that he carry with him to my cheek. Oh, friend John, it is a strange world, a sad world, a world full of miseries, and woes, and troubles; and yet when King Laugh come, he make them all dance to the tune he play. Bleeding hearts, and dry bones of the churchyard, and tears that burn as they fall — all dance together to the music that he make with that smileless mouth of him. And believe me, friend John, that he is good to come, and kind. Ah, we men and women are like ropes drawn tight with strain that pull us different ways. Then tears come; and, like the rain on the ropes, they brace us up, until perhaps the strain become too great, and we break. But King Laugh he come like the sunshine, and he ease off the strain again; and we bear to go on with our labour, what it may be.

    • Chapter XIV, Dr. Seward’s Diary entry for 22 September
  • “Friend John, forgive me if I pain. I showed not my feeling to others when it would wound, but only to you, my old friend, whom I can trust. If you could have looked into my very heart then when I want to laugh; if you could have done so when the laugh arrived; if you could do so now, when King Laugh have pack up his crown, and all that is to him — for he go far, far away from me, and for a long, long time — maybe you would perhaps pity me the most of all.”
    I was touched by the tenderness of his tone, and asked why.
    “Because I know!”

    • Professor Van Helsing to Dr. John Seward, in Dr. Seward’s Diary entry for 22 September
  • You reason well, and your wit is bold, but you are too prejudiced. You do not let your eyes see nor your ears hear, and that which is outside your daily life is not of account to you. Do you not think that there are things which you cannot understand, and yet which are, that some people see things that others cannot? But there are things old and new which must not be contemplated by men’s eyes, because they know, or think they know, some things which other men have told them. Ah, it is the fault of our science that it wants to explain all, and if it explain not, then it says there is nothing to explain. But yet we see around us every day the growth of new beliefs, which think themselves new, and which are yet but the old, which pretend to be young, like the fine ladies at the opera.
    • Professor Van Helsing to Dr. Seward
  • One and all we felt that the holy calm that lay like sunshine over the wasted face and form was only an earthly token and symbol of the calm that was to reign for ever.
    • Dr. Seward of Lucy Westenra
  • I have always thought that a wild animal never looks so well as when some obstacle of pronounced durability is between us. A personal experience has intensified rather than diminished that idea.
    • The Keeper in the Zoological Gardens
  • You think to baffle me, you with your pale faces all in a row, like sheep in a butcher’s. You shall be sorry yet, each one of you! You think you have left me without a place to rest, but I have more. My revenge is just begun! I spread it over centuries, and time is on my side. Your girls that you all love are mine already. And through them you and others shall yet be mine, my creatures, to do my bidding and to be my jackals when I want to feed. Bah!
    • Dracula, having found Jonathan Harker, Quincey Morris and Arthur Holmwood in his house
  • The sun was almost down on the mountain tops, and the shadows of the whole group fell upon the snow. I saw the Count lying within the box upon the earth, some of which the rude falling from the cart had scattered over him. He was deathly pale, just like a waxen image, and the red eyes glared with the horrible vindictive look which I knew so well. As I looked, the eyes saw the sinking sun, and the look of hate in them turned to triumph. But, on the instant, came the sweep and flash of Jonathan’s great knife. I shrieked as I saw it shear through the throat. Whilst at the same moment Mr. Morris’s bowie knife plunged into the heart. It was like a miracle, but before our very eyes, and almost in the drawing of a breath, the whole body crumbled into dust and passed from our sight. I shall be glad as long as I live that even in that moment of final dissolution, there was in the face a look of peace, such as I never could have imagined might have rested there.
    • Mina Harker
  • Seven years ago we all went through the flames. And the happiness of some of us since then is, we think, well worth the pain we endured.
    • Jonathan Harker


Charles Demuth
Charles Demuth- Self-Portrait, 1907.jpg

Self-Portrait, 1907

Today is the birthday of Charles Henry Buckius Demuth (Lancaster, Pennsylvania; November 8, 1883 – October 23, 1935 Lancaster); American watercolorist who turned to oils late in his career, developing a style of painting known as Precisionism.


I Saw the Figure 5 in Gold 1928, collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City

In Vaudeville (Dancer with Chorus), 1918, in the Philadelphia Museum of Art 

Margaret Mitchell
Margaret Mitchell NYWTS.jpg

Today is the birthday of Margaret Munnerlyn Mitchell (Atlanta, Georgia; November 8, 1900 – August 16, 1949 Atlanta); American author and journalist.  One novel by Mitchell was published during her lifetime; the epic American Civil War-era novel, Gone with the Wind, for which she won the National Book Award for Most Distinguished Novel of 1936 and the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1937.  In more recent years, a collection of Mitchell’s girlhood writings and a novella she wrote as a teenager, Lost Laysen, have been published.

Prose from Gone with the Wind

  • “The trouble with most of us Southerners,” continued Rhett Butler, “is that we either don’t travel enough or we don’t profit enough by our travels…. I have seen many things that you all have not seen. The thousands of immigrants who’d be glad to fight for the Yankees for food and a few dollars, the factories, the foundries, the shipyards, the iron and coal mines &mdash all the things we haven’t got. Why, all we have is cotton and slaves and arrogance. They’d lick us in a month.”
    • Chapter 6
  • Before the war there had been few cotton factories, woolen mills, arsenals and machine shops south of Maryland, a fact of which all Southerners were proud. The South produced statesmen and soldiers, planters and doctors, lawyers and poets, but certainly not engineers or mechanics. Let the Yankees adopt such low callings.
    • Chapter 8
  • “In the end what will happen will be what has happened whenever a civilization breaks up. The people who have brains and courage come through and the ones who haven’t are winnowed out. At least, it has been interesting, if not comfortable, to witness a Gotterdammerung.”
  • “A what?”
  • “A dusk of the gods. Unfortunately, we Southerners did think we were gods.”
    • Chapter 31
  • “It isn’t that I mind splitting logs here in the mud, but I do mind what it stands for. I do mind, very much, the loss of the beauty of the old life I loved. Scarlett, before the war, life was beautiful. There was a glamor to it, a perfection and a completeness and a symmetry to it like Grecian art. Maybe it wasn’t so to everyone. I know that now. But to me, living at Twelve Oaks, there was a real beauty to living. I belonged in that life. I was a part of it. And now it is gone and I am out of place in this new life, and I am afraid. Now, I know that in the old days it was a shadow show I watched. I avoided everything which was not shadowy, people and situations which were too real, too vital. I resented their intrusion. I tried to avoid you too, Scarlett. You were too full of living and too real and I was cowardly enough to prefer shadows and dreams.”
    • Chapter 31
  • I cannot understand why I did not desert. It was all the purest insanity. But it’s in one’s blood. Southerners can never resist a losing cause.
    • Chapter 34
  • There ain’t nothin’ that walks can lick us, any more than it could lick him, not Yankees nor Carpetbaggers nor hard times nor high taxes nor even downright starvation. But that weakness that’s in our hearts can lick us in the time it takes to bat your eye.
    • Chapter 38
  • Hardships make or break people.
    • Chapter 40
  • These women, so swift to kindness, so tender to the sorrowing, so untiring in times of stress, could be as implacable as furies to any renegade who broke one small law of their unwritten code. This code was simple. Reverence for the Confederacy, honor to the veterans, loyalty to old forms, pride in poverty, open hands to friends and undying hatred to Yankees.
    • Chapter 47
  • Drink and dissipation had done their work on the coin-clean profile and now it was no longer the head of a young pagan prince on new-minted gold but a decadent, tired Caesar on copper debased by long usage.
    • Chapter 63
  • She was seeing through Rhett’s eyes the passing, not of a woman but of a legend — the gentle, self-effacing but steel-spined women on whom the South had builded its house in war and to whose proud and loving arms it had returned in defeat.
    • Chapter 63

Mac Tag

Yet is not ecstasy some fulfillment of the soul in itself, some slow or sudden expansion of it like an overflowing well?WB Yeats

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The Lovers’ Almanac 7 November – Silent Night – art by Paul Peel

Dear Zazie,  Here is today’s Lovers’ Almanac from Mac Tag dedicated to his muse.  Tell us about your night dreams.  Rhett

The Lovers’ Almanac

Dear Muse,

thanks Karen…

i may not be
the smartest guy
but i figured this out
my days without you
ain’t worth a damn…

i listen to the sound
of your name, whisked
by the wind across
a South Dakota canyon
on a night, cold
with the only light
comin’ from a full moon
that shines with a halo
in the dark cloud-curtained sky

i turn my face to the snow
beginnin’ to fall
silently, and reflect
on my own, alone,
lookin’ at the moon,
with my thoughts of you
and I imagine…
and I smile

© copyright 2017 mac tag/cowboy Coleridge all rights reserved

Villiers de l’Isle-Adam

Today is the birthday of Jean-Marie-Mathias-Philippe-Auguste, comte de Villiers de l’Isle-Adam (Saint-Brieuc, Brittany 7 November 1838 – 19 August 1889) was a French symbolist writer.

He came from a distinguished, though not wealthy, aristocratic family.  His father became obsessed with the idea he could restore the family fortune by findin’ the lost treasure of the Knights of Malta (Philippe Villiers de L’Isle-Adam, 16th century Grand Master of the Knights Hospitaller, was his ancestor), which had reputedly been buried near Quintin durin’ the French Revolution.  Consequently, he spent large sums of money buyin’ land, excavatin’ it and then sellin’ it at a loss when he failed to find anything of value.  The most important occurrence in his early years was probably the death of a young girl with whom Villiers was in love, an event which would deeply influence his literary imagination.

Villiers had made several trips to Paris in the late 1850s, where he became enthralled by artistic and theatrical life.  He acquired a reputation in literary circles for his inspired, alcohol-fuelled monologues.  Villiers began livin’ a Bohemian life, frequentin’ the Brasserie des Martyrs, where he met his idol Baudelaire, who encouraged him to read the works of Edgar Allan Poe.  Poe and Baudelaire would become the biggest influences on Villiers’ mature style.  Around this time, Villiers began livin’ with Louise Dyonnet, a woman whose reputation scandalised his family so much they made Villiers undergo a retreat at Solesmes Abbey.  Villiers would remain a devout, if highly unorthodox, Catholic for the rest of his life.

Villiers finally broke with Dyonnet in 1864.  His attempts at securin’ a suitable bride for himself would all end in failure.  In 1867, he asked Théophile Gautier for the hand of his daughter Estelle, but Gautier—who had turned his back on the Bohemian world of his youth and would not let his child marry a writer with few prospects, turned him down.  Villiers’ own family also disapproved of the match.  His plans for marriage to an English heiress, Anna Eyre Powell, were equally unsuccessful.  Villiers finally took to livin’ with Marie Dantine, the illiterate widow of a Belgian coachman.  He wrote a poem, “Nocturne”, that served as inspiration for today’s Poem of the Day, dedicated to Villiers and to you.

Night Dream

The great mystery
Approaches, opens Herself
As much upon us
As the stars in the sky

The lengthenin’ shadows
Gradually advance
Upon our embrace
Under the stars in the sky

This night envelopes
We have all we need
Just us and the stars
My love and your beauty

This dream enshrouds
The token keeps spinnin’
This we fiercely cling to
This our sweet refrain:

Just the night and the dream

My love and your beauty

© copyright 2012 mac tag/Cowboy Coleridge all rights reserved

The Song of the Day is “Nocturne Op. 43-2” words by Villiers, music by Gabriel Fauré, Baritone: Gérard Souzay, Piano: Dalton Baldwin


Self-portrait from the National Gallery of Canada

The Little Shepherdess (1892). 160.6 × 114.0 cm. Oil on canvas. Art Gallery of Ontario

Today is the birthday of Paul Peel (London, Ontario 7 November 1860 – 3 October 1892 Paris ); Canadian academic painter.  Having won a medal at the 1890 Paris Salon, he became one of the first Canadian artists to receive international recognition in his lifetime.

In 1882 he married Isaure Verdier.  He contracted a lung infection and died in his sleep, in Paris, France, at the age of 31.

Adoration (1885) by Peel

Mac Tag

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The Lovers’ Almanac 6 November – Spread Your Arms – art by Bunker & Shinn

Dear Zazie,  Here is today’s Lovers’ Almanac from Mac Tag dedicated to his muse.  Have you known sadness?  Rhett

The Lovers’ Almanac

Dear Muse,

thanks Karen…

i love the way
your name sounds
in a candlelit room…

did you know
that lionesses
and cowboys always
land on their feet

our minds are strong,
our hearts are resilient
how else can you explain
givin’ everything you have
to someone only to find
it is not enough

and then sure enough,
much to our surprise,
after the fall, there it is
beatin’ stronger than before
recoverin from the rendin’

it gets through the hurt
and learns to beat for itself
anyhow, that is our story

we keep remindin’ ourselves,
and hopin’ we succeed
with the convincin’
however the disappointment comes

whether it be
from one sided love
or when the one you love
loves you and talks about
a rare connection then
of a sudden, insists it is over

either way, s’pose those
are moments in life
when one must accept
that sometimes
there is no understandin’
someone elses feelin’s

and sometimes
it is better to let go…
let go… let go…
for one’s own well bein’
and we are learnin’
to spread our arms
and hold our breaths

© copyright 2017 mac tag/cowboy Coleridge/Dead Lioness all rights reserved

Today is the birthday of French poet Louis Racine, born in Paris (1692).  His father Jean Racine‘s poem (and my no doubt inept translation) “Choer D’Esther” served as inspiration for today’s Poem of the Day:


Lost then found then lost
Sadness; a story


She found me against the odds,
Lonely, my life blood flowin’
Like water on earth, spreadin’
From beyond, I heard Her voice,
A lost man


I had seen love lost
Like a hidden beast
Its countenance bold
Governin’ the thunder
Tramplin’ the defeated
I had that happen, and happen again


Then she came
Happiness in me who knew the sweetness
I felt young, in the shadow of her beauty;
The most charmin’ dreams have nothin’

comparable, comparable

The pleasure she spread in me

Then she was gone
Sadness in me who knows the bitterness


Nothin’ soothes, nothin’ forgives;
Crazy heart abandoned
It awaits the return;
It excuses my weakness;
To get me down it hastens:
For the words she uncovered
Are all I know of affection
If I could share with her


It shows there is no mercy

One of the not chosen
It has revealed its pain


Ah Could I share with her


That it not be blessed, that it not be sung;
Though it will be known to me
Beyond time and age

© copyright 2012 mac tag/Cowboy Coleridge all rights reserved

The Song of the Day is “Sadness” by Enigma.

Dennis Miller Bunker
Dennis Miller Bunker - Jessica 1890.jpg

Jessica, 1890. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Today is the birthday of Dennis Miller Bunker (New York City; November 6, 1861 – December 28, 1890 Boston); American painter and innovator of American Impressionism.  His mature works include both brightly colored landscape paintings and dark, finely drawn portraits and figures.  One of the major American painters of the late 19th century, and a friend of many prominent artists of the era, Bunker died from meningitis at the age of 29.


The Pool, Medfield, 1889. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

On October 2 Bunker married Eleanor Hardy in Boston.  The couple then moved to New York.  Returning to Boston to celebrate Christmas with the Hardy family, Bunker fell ill.  On December 28 he died of heart failure, probably caused by cerebro-spinal meningitis.  He was Buried at Milton Cemetery, Milton, MA and his tombstone was designed by his friends Stanford White and Augustus Saint-Gaudens.

Portrait Sketch of Eleanor Hardy Bunker, 1890. Private collection.
Everett Shinn
Shinn self portrait 1901.jpg

Self-portrait done in 1901 in his charcoal style.

Today is the birthday of Everett Shinn (Woodstown, New Jersey; November 6, 1876 – May 1, 1953 New York City); American realist painter and member of the Ashcan School.  He also exhibited with the short-lived group known as “The Eight,” who protested the restrictive exhibition policies of the powerful, conservative National Academy of Design.  He is best known for his robust paintings of urban life in New York and London, a hallmark of Ashcan art, and for his theater and residential murals and interior-design projects.  His style varied considerably over the years, from gritty and realistic to decorative and rococo.


Everett Shinn 

The White Ballet 

Ashcan School Artists, circa 1896. L-R:Everett Shinn, Robert Henri, John French Sloan 

Keith’s Union Square, ca. 1902-06. Brooklyn Museum

The 1940s saw his work included in more museum exhibitions and just prior to his death he was taken on by the prestigious James Graham Gallery in New York.  In his best years, Shinn was well-paid and owned large houses in Connecticut and Upstate New York, but he went through a vast amount of money (along with four wives and numerous mistresses) and was financially straitened in his final days. 

Couple Sitting Among Lanterns, Vanity Fair, June 1916

Mac Tag

O how could I be so calm

When she rose up to depart?

Now words that called up the lightning

Are hurtling through my heart.

WB Yeats

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The Lovers’ Almanac 5 November – I-90 Blues – Suckling’s ode to Lucy Hay – art by Pietro Longhi

Dear Zazie,  Here is today’s Lovers’ Almanac from Mac Tag dedicated to his muse.  Have you ever thought someone was walkin’ towards you only to find they were walkin’ away from you?  Rhett

The Lovers’ Almanac

Dear Muse,

am i bein’ punished
i think i am
by god or fate
or cupid or somethin’

whenever i feel blue
there is one thing
i always do,
and it works every time
i just think about you

so i feel good
about the choices
i have made
but i still wrestle
with these feelin’s
of bein’ without

“I know that people get confused
in this life about what they want,
and what they’ve done,
and what they think
they should’ve because of it.
Everything they think they are
or did, takes hold so hard
that it won’t let them see
what they can be.”

well, it has for sure,
taken a hold on me
and that is my struggle
not lettin’ myself
let go of that

© copyright 2017 mac tag/cowboy Coleridge all rights reserved

On this day in 1660, the English courtier, known for her beauty and wit, Lucy Hay died.  Her charms were celebrated in verse by contemporary poets, including a risqué poem by Sir John Suckling; “Upon My Lady Carlisle’s Walking in Hampton Court Garden”That of course is the Poem of the Day and followin’ that the Lyrics of the Day, inspired by the poem.

Upon My Lady Carlisle’s Walking in Hampton Court Garden

            T.C.          J.S.
Didst thou not find the place
And flowers, as if they had
No other sun, start from their
And for a sight steal out
their heads?
Heardst thou not music when
she talked?
And didst not find that as she
She threw rare perfumes all
Such as bean-blossoms newly
Or chafèd spices give?—
I must confess those perfumes,
I did not smell; nor found
that from
Her passing by ought sprung up
The flowers had all their
birth from you;
For I passed o’er the
self-same walk
And did not find one single
Of anything that was to bring
This unknown
Dull and insensible, couldst
A thing so near a deity
Move up and down, and feel no
None, and so great, were alike
I had my thoughts, but not
your way.
All are not born, sir, to the
Alas! Tom, I am flesh and
And was consulting how I could
In spite of masks and hoods
The parts denied unto the eye.
I was undoing all she wore,
And had she walked but one
turn more,
Eve in her first state had not
More naked or more plainly
’Twas well for thee she left
the place;
There is great danger in that
But hadst thou viewed her leg
and thigh,
And upon that discovery
Searched after parts that are
more dear
(As fancy seldom stops so
No time or age had ever seen
So lost a thing as thou hadst


Walkin’ Away

I found that place inspired,
And her I never more desired
No other one, my heart so sped,
For a sight could turn my head
I heard the music when she talked
And I found that as she walked
I could do not but stare
And wonder at her so rare
Dull and insensible, could see
A woman of such beauty
Move as she does, and makes me change
None so great, makes me feel strange;
And all my thoughts, and if I may,
All my desires came this way;
Flesh and bone and would it not be fun,
Wonderin’ how it could be done,
In spite of her clothes, to espy
The parts denied unto the eye
I was undoin’ all she wore,
And as she turned once more,
I could see her clearly between,
More naked or more plainly seen,
She was walkin’ away, she left that place
Leavin’ anguish on my face
Was this all but a tremulous dream
A random ripple in the reality stream
If I cannot see again that smile,
And upon that discovery awhile,
See the rest of her, all the more dear,
If fancy sadly stops so near,
No time or age could pen
So lost a thing as I have been
© copyright 2012 mac tag/Cowboy Coleridge all rights reserved

The Song of the Day is “Walkin’ Away Blues” by Ry Cooder.


Pietro Longhi
Pietro Longhi 050.jpg

Self-portrait of Longhi

Clara the rhinoceros by Pietro Longhi,1751 (Ca’ Rezzonico)

La lezione di danza (The Dancing Lesson), ca 1741, Venezia, Gallerie dell’Accademia

The Charlatan, 1757

The Ridotto in Venice, ca. 1750s

Today is the birthday of Pietro Longhi (Venice 1702 or November 5, 1701 – May 8, 1785 ); Venetian painter of contemporary genre scenes of life.


Mac Tag

Love is the irresistible desire to be irresistibly desired. –  Mark Twain

O, thou art a perpetual triumph, an everlasting bonfire-light!Shakespeare

Love is all


That cannot take the whole

Body and soul;WB Yeats

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The Lover’s Almanac 4 November – Reachin’ for Nothin’

Dear Zazie,  Here is today’s Lover’s Almanac from Mac Tag dedicated to his muse.  What are you reachin’ for?  Rhett

The Lover’s Almanac

Dear Muse,

This is the one that started comin’ to me while I was watchin’ the film Crazy Heart.  It is called,

Reachin’ for Nothin’

Thought about comin’ to see you
I thought about callin’
But this feelin’, that is not new,
Has me, again, fallin’

Thought about doin’ what I should
Thought about doin’ right
‘Stead of just doin’ what I could,
Just followin’ the night

Instead of doin’ what I should
Instead of reachin’ out to you
Instead of doin’ what I could
Instead of reachin’ for what is true
I am reachin’ for nothin’

I cannot stop this lonely feelin’,
That is with me night and day
That seems to always be stealin’
Me and blockin’ the way

The way to go, I know is clear
I should do what it takes
To git back to you and what is dear
I cannot and my heart breaks

Repeat chorus

© copyright 2012 mac tag/Cowboy Coleridge all rights reserved

The Song of the Day is “Reaching for the Floor” by Breathe Carolina.


Guido Reni
Guido Reni - Self-portrait 2.jpg

Self portrait, c. 1602

Today is the birthday of Guido Reni (Bologna 4 November 1575 – 18 August 1642 Bologna); Italian painter of high-Baroque style.


Bacchus and Ariadne, circa 1619-1620, held in Los Angeles County Museum of Art

“St Michael Archangel”. The Archangel Michael trampling Satan,wears a late Roman military cloak and cuirass. 1636, held in Santa Maria della Concezione dei Cappuccini, Rome 

Saint Joseph and the Christ Child.

Joseph and Potiphar’s Wife c.1630.

Reni is buried with Elisabetta Sirani in the Rosary Chapel of the Basilica of San Domenico in Bologna 

Massacre of the Innocents, (1611).

David with the Head of Goliath, oil on canvas.
  • St Matthew and the Angel

  • Saint James the Greater

  • Europa and the Bull

  • Beatrice Cenci, sometimes ascribed to Elisabetta Sirani, which inspired Percy Shelley’s play The Cenci

  • The Archangel Michael wears a late Roman military cloak and cuirass

  • The Baptism of Christ.

  • Joseph and Potiphar’s Wife, 1631

  • Hercules Vanquishing the Hydra of Lerma, ca. 1617 and 1620

  • Jesus Christ with the cross

  • St John the Baptist in the Wilderness

  • The Rape of Europa (1630s) at The National Gallery, London. Made for King Władysław IV of Poland.

  • Saint Cecilia

  • David and Abigail, religious biblical painting

  • St Dominic’s Glory crowning the Arca di San Domenico

  • Guido Reni - Saint Sebastian - Google Art Project (27740148).jpg
Carolina “La Belle” Otero
La Belle Otero, par Jean Reutlinger, 2.jpg

La Belle Otero, by Jean Reutlinger

Today is the birthday of Carolina “La Belle” Otero (born Agustina Otero Iglesias Valga, Spain 4 November 1868 – 12 April 1965 Nice, France); Spanish-born dancer, actress and courtesan.  Her family being impoverished, as a child she moved to Santiago de Compostela working as a maid.  At ten she was raped, which left her sterile, and at fourteen she left home with her boyfriend and dancing partner, Paco, and began working as a singer/dancer in Lisbon.  She reportedly married an Italian nobleman, Count Guglielmo, when she was 14.  Her second husband, whom she married in 1906, was René Webb, an English cotton spinner.  In 1888 she found a sponsor in Barcelona who moved with her to Marseilles in order to promote her dancing career in France.  She soon left him and created the character of La Belle Otero, fancying herself an Romani Andalusian.  She wound up as the star of Les Folies Bèrgere productions in Paris.

An 1894 Folies Bergère poster.

Otero grew to be the most sought after woman in all of Europe.  She began serving as a courtesan to wealthy and powerful men of the day, and she chose her lovers carefully.  She associated herself with the likes of Prince Albert I of Monaco, King Edward VII of the United Kingdom, Kings of Serbia, and Kings of Spain as well as Russian Grand Dukes Peter and Nicholas, the Duke of Westminster and writer Gabriele D’Annunzio.  Her love affairs made her infamous, and the envy of many other notable female personalities of the day.

Six men reportedly committed suicide after their love affairs with Otero ended, although this has never been substantiated.  It is a fact, however, that two men did fight a duel over her.  She was pretty, confident, and intelligent.  One of her most famous costumes featured her voluptuous bosom partially covered with glued-on precious gems, and the twin cupolas of the Hotel Carlton built in 1912 in Cannes are popularly said to have been modeled upon her breasts.

It was once said of her that her extraordinarily dark black eyes were so captivating that they were “of such intensity that it was impossible not to be detained before them”.

Otero retired after World War I, purchasing a mansion and property.  She had accumulated a fortune over the years but she gambled much of it away over the remainder of her lifetime, enjoying a lavish lifestyle, and visiting the casinos of Monte Carlo often.  She lived out her life in a more and more pronounced state of poverty until she died of a heart attack in 1965 in her one-room apartment at the Hotel Novelty in Nice, France.  As a neighbor said of Otero’s last days, “She was constantly talking about her past, and I was not listening any more. It was always the same: feasts, princes, champagne.”

Of her heyday and career, Otero once said, “Women have one mission in life: to be beautiful. When one gets old, one must learn how to break mirrors. I am very gently expecting to die.”


Mac Tag

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The Lovers’ Almanac 3 November – Carracci – William Cullen Bryant – Bellini

Dear Zazie,  Here is today’s Lovers’ Almanac from Mac Tag dedicated to his muse.  Rhett

The Lovers’ Almanac

Dear Muse,

Annibale Carracci
Annibale Carracci - Self-portrait.jpg

Self-portrait (Uffizi)

Today is the birthday of Annibale Carracci (Bologna; November 3, 1560 – July 15, 1609 Rome); Italian painter, active in Bologna and later in Rome. Along with his brothers, Annibale was one of the progenitors of a leading strand of the Baroque style.  Painters working under Annibale at the gallery of the Palazzo Farnese would be highly influential in Roman painting for decades.


Pietà between 1599 and 1600


Portrait of Giacomo Filippo Turrini 

Carracci’s “Domine, Quo Vadis” (Jesus and Saint Peter)

Pietà with Sts Francis and Mary Magdalen

Madonna con Bambino, santa Lucia, san Giovannino e angelo

Annibale was entombed, according to his wish, near Raphael in the Pantheon of Rome.  It is a measure of his achievement that artists as diverse as Bernini, Poussin, and Rubens praised his work.  Many of his assistants or pupils in projects at the Palazzo Farnese and Herrera Chapel would become among the pre-eminent artists of the next decades, including Domenichino, Francesco Albani, Giovanni Lanfranco, Domenico Viola, Guido Reni, Sisto Badalocchio, and others. 

The Mystic Marriage of St Catherine

Madonna Enthroned with Saint Matthew

William Cullen Bryant
William Cullen Bryant Cabinet Card by Mora-crop.jpg

Cabinet card of Bryant, c. 1876

Today is the birthday of William Cullen Bryant (Cummington, Massachusetts; November 3, 1794 – June 12, 1878 New York City); American romantic poet, journalist, and long-time editor of the New York Evening Post.



 To him who in the love of Nature holds
Communion with her visible forms, she speaks
A various language; for his gayer hours
She has a voice of gladness, and a smile
And eloquence of beauty, and she glides
Into his darker musings, with a mild
And healing sympathy, that steals away
Their sharpness, ere he is aware. When thoughts
Of the last bitter hour come like a blight
Over thy spirit, and sad images
Of the stern agony, and shroud, and pall,
And breathless darkness, and the narrow house,
Make thee to shudder, and grow sick at heart;—
Go forth, under the open sky, and list
To Nature’s teachings, while from all around
Earth and her waters, and the depths of air—
Comes a still voice—
Yet a few days, and thee
The all-beholding sun shall see no more
In all his course; nor yet in the cold ground,
Where thy pale form was laid, with many tears,
Nor in the embrace of ocean, shall exist
Thy image. Earth, that nourished thee, shall claim
Thy growth, to be resolved to earth again,
And, lost each human trace, surrendering up
Thine individual being, shalt thou go
To mix for ever with the elements,
To be a brother to the insensible rock
And to the sluggish clod, which the rude swain
Turns with his share, and treads upon. The oak
Shall send his roots abroad, and pierce thy mould.
Yet not to thine eternal resting-place
Shalt thou retire alone, nor couldst thou wish
Couch more magnificent. Thou shalt lie down
With patriarchs of the infant world—with kings,
The powerful of the earth—the wise, the good,
Fair forms, and hoary seers of ages past,
All in one mighty sepulchre. The hills
Rock-ribbed and ancient as the sun,—the vales
Stretching in pensive quietness between;
The venerable woods—rivers that move
In majesty, and the complaining brooks
That make the meadows green; and, poured round all,
Old Ocean’s gray and melancholy waste,—
Are but the solemn decorations all
Of the great tomb of man. The golden sun,
The planets, all the infinite host of heaven,
Are shining on the sad abodes of death,
Through the still lapse of ages. All that tread
The globe are but a handful to the tribes
That slumber in its bosom.—Take the wings
Of morning, pierce the Barcan wilderness,
Or lose thyself in the continuous woods
Where rolls the Oregon, and hears no sound,
Save his own dashings—yet the dead are there:
And millions in those solitudes, since first
The flight of years began, have laid them down
In their last sleep—the dead reign there alone.
So shalt thou rest, and what if thou withdraw
In silence from the living, and no friend
Take note of thy departure? All that breathe
Will share thy destiny. The gay will laugh
When thou art gone, the solemn brood of care
Plod on, and each one as before will chase
His favorite phantom; yet all these shall leave
Their mirth and their employments, and shall come
And make their bed with thee. As the long train
Of ages glide away, the sons of men,
The youth in life’s green spring, and he who goes
In the full strength of years, matron and maid,
The speechless babe, and the gray-headed man—
Shall one by one be gathered to thy side,
By those, who in their turn shall follow them.
So live, that when thy summons comes to join
The innumerable caravan, which moves
To that mysterious realm, where each shall take
His chamber in the silent halls of death,
Thou go not, like the quarry-slave at night,
Scourged to his dungeon, but, sustained and soothed
By an unfaltering trust, approach thy grave,
Like one who wraps the drapery of his couch
About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams.


Today is the birthday of Vincenzo Salvatore Carmelo Francesco Bellini (Catania; 3 November 1801 – 23 September 1835 Puteaux) was an Italian opera composer, known for his long-flowing melodic lines for which he was named “the Swan of Catania”.  Bellini was the quintessential composer of the Italian bel canto era of the early 19th century.

In considering which of his operas can be seen to be his greatest successes, Il pirata laid much of the groundwork in 1827.  Both I Capuleti ed i Montecchi at La Fenice in 1830 and La sonnambula in Milan in 1831 reached new triumphal heights, although initially Norma, given at La Scala in 1831 did not fare as well until later performances elsewhere. “The genuine triumph” of I puritani in January 1835 in Paris capped a significant career.

Bellini never married. 

Bellini wanted to marry Maddalena Fumaroli but her parents refused.  The success achieved by Bianca e Gernado gave Bellini fresh hope that her parents would finally relent, and a new appeal was made through a friend.  This was rejected by Maddalena’s father, who returned all the letters which she had received along with a letter from him stating that “my daughter will never marry a poor piano banger (suonatore di cembalo)”.

At some time before March 1828, after the major success of Il pirata and just as Bellini was about to leave Milan for his production of Bianca e Ferdinando in Genoa, he received a notification from his go-between with the Fumarolis family that they had withdrawn their rejection of his proposal.  But by then—with the efforts to build his career and with time and distance between him and Maddalena—his feelings had changed and, using Florimo to communicate to the family, he rejected the offer, expressing the feeling that he would be unable to support her financially.  Even Maddalena’s own pleas in three letters which followed failed to change his mind.  Good thinkin’ Bellini.

Giuditta Turina

Giuditta Turina

The one significant relationship which Bellini had after 1828 was the five-year relationship with Giuditta Turina, a young married woman with whom he began an affair when both were in Genoa in April 1828 for the production of Bianca e Fernando.  Their relationship lasted until Bellini went to Paris.  Perhaps because her marriage was irrevocable and not based on love, and because the lovers were discreet, her husband, Fernandino, and his family seem to have tacitly permitted the relationship.  Bellini’s letters to his friend Florimo indicate his satisfaction with the nature of the liaison, particularly because it kept him from having to marry—and thus becoming being distracted from his work.  Exactly!

However, in May 1833 while he was in London, a change in Bellini’s relationship with Giuditta followed from the discovery by her husband of a compromising letter from Bellini.  The result was that he decided to seek a legal separation and have her removed from his house.  For Bellini, it meant the possibility of taking on responsibility for her, and he had no interest in doing that, having cooled in his feelings for her.  When he wrote to Florimo from Paris the following year, he clearly stated that “I constantly am being threatened from Milan with Giuditta’s coming to Paris”, at which point he says he’ll leave that city if that were to happen.  Then he continues: “I no longer want to be put in the position of renewing a relationship that made me suffer great troubles”.  Ultimately, he resisted any long-term emotional commitment, and never married.  Smart man!

Thanks for readin’ y’all,

Mac Tag 

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