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Sunday, 16 December 2012

Slaughter of the Innocents


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Hunters in the Snow: January: Pieter Breugel the Elder, 1565, oil on panel, 117 x 62 cm (Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna)



[A Psalme of Dauid.]



23:1     The Lord is my shepheard, I shall not want. 





Hunters in the Snow: January (detail): Pieter Breugel the Elder, 1565, oil on panel, 117 x 62 cm (Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna)



23:2     He maketh me to lie downe in greene pastures: he leadeth mee beside the still waters.




Hunters in the Snow: January (detail): Pieter Breugel the Elder, 1565, oil on panel, 117 x 62 cm (Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna)
 


23:3     He restoreth my soule: he leadeth me in the pathes of righteousnes, for his names sake. 




Hunters in the Snow: January (detail): Pieter Breugel the Elder, 1565, oil on panel, 117 x 62 cm (Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna)



23:4     Yea though I walke through the valley of the shadowe of death, I will feare no euill: for thou art with me, thy rod and thy staffe, they comfort me. 




Slaughter of the Innocents: Duccio di Buoninsgna, 1308-1311, tempera on wood, 42.5 x 43.5 cm (Museo dell' Opera del Duomo, Siena




23:5     Thou preparest a table before me, in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oyle, my cuppe runneth ouer. 





Slaughter of the Innocents (detail): Duccio di Buoninsgna, 1308-1311, tempera on wood, 42.5 x 43.5 cm (Museo dell' Opera del Duomo, Siena)



23:6     Surely goodnes and mercie shall followe me all the daies of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for euer.


Psalm XXIII: from King James Bible, 1611  



Boy beside store window display of Christmas ornaments, northeastern US: photographer unknown [Jack Delano?], December 1941


I'm not sure the 23rd Psalm can live up to the reality of Newtown, Connecticut.



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Boys looking at store window display of toys: photographer unknown [Jack Delano?], December 1941


Songs of innocence


and Experience would come closer.



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Christmas trees and wreaths in store window display, northeastern US, photographer unknown [Jack Delano?], December 1941 


It's like crying fire in the mind of a child which is a theater in becoming.



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Children in the tenement district, Brockton, Massachusetts: photo by Jack Delano, December 1940( Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Collection, Library of Congress)



I doubt that effective gun control will occur since there are 100's of millions of guns in private
ownership or that censorship of violence in the media will occur.



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Children in the tenement district, Brockton, Massachusetts: photo by Jack Delano, December 1940



So it will probably be Pandora's box in a country that is terribly divided.


-- Charlie Vermont, M. D., from a letter, 15 December 2012




 Skating, vicinity of Brockton, Massachusetts: photo by Jack Delano, December 1940 (Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Collection, Library of Congress)

http://memory.loc.gov/service/pnp/fsac/1a33000/1a33800/1a33870v.jpg


Skating, vicinity of Brockton, Massachusetts: photo by Jack Delano, December 1940 (Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Collection, Library of Congress)



http://memory.loc.gov/service/pnp/fsac/1a33000/1a33800/1a33872v.jpg


Skating, vicinity of Brockton, Massachusetts: photo by Jack Delano, December 1940 (Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Collection, Library of Congress)

 

Massachusetts farm, possibly near Brockton, Massachusetts
: photo by Jack Delano, December 1940 (Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Collection, Library of Congress)


William Blake: The Human Abstract

Pity would be no more,
If we did not make somebody Poor:
And Mercy no more could be,
If all were as happy as we;

And mutual fear brings peace;
Till the selfish loves increase.
Then Cruelty knits a snare,
And spreads his baits with care.

He sits down with holy fears,
And waters the ground with tears:
Then Humility takes its root
Underneath his foot.

Soon spreads the dismal shade
Of Mystery over his head;
And the Catterpiller and Fly,
Feed on the Mystery.

And it bears the fruit of Deceit,
Ruddy and sweet to eat;
And the Raven his nest has made
In its thickest shade.

The Gods of the earth and sea,
Sought thro' Nature to find this Tree
But their search was all in vain:
There grows one in the Human Brain.

The Human Abstract: William Blake, from Songs of Experience, 1794



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Songs of Innocence and of Experience, title page: William Blake, 1794


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Black refugees evicted from sharecropping, now living on roadside, Parkin, Arkansas: photo by John Vachon, 1936 (Farm Security Administration/WPA, Library of Congress)

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Refugee family in Upper Silesia, waiting in the freezing cold to flee their homeland to the west to safety: photo by Blaschka, January 1945 (Deutsches Bundesarchiv)

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 Berlin Hauptbahnhof: homeless refugees from Pomerania, East and West Prussia, fleeing westward: photographer unknown, March 1945 (Deutsches Bundesarchiv)



Shoppers walk through fake snow on Oxford Street during a traffic-free Christmas shopping day in central London: photo by Olivia Harris/Reuters, 24 November 2012

7 comments:

Sandra said...

the mystery is the best answer sometimes...

Nin Andrews said...

Such a moving post. I feel inadequate to respond to recent events . . .

Hazen said...

El hombre, lobo del hombre. (Man, a wolf to man).

Wooden Boy said...

And mutual fear brings peace;
Till the selfish loves increase.

Subjects shut in, living with the distances, keeping stumm, biding time.

I'm afraid Dr Vermont's spot on about the gun laws and the excess of violence.

STEPHEN RATCLIFFE said...

Tom,

Such a beautiful Breughel, those hunters in the snow, that black crow (raven?) on the bare branch against a leaden January sky in 1565. Then the Lord's Prayer, Slaughter of the Innocents, Charlie Vermont's letter, Jack Delano's photos, Blake's poem --

"And the Raven his nest has made
In its thickest shade."


12.16

grey whiteness of clouds above shadowed
green ridge, motion of leaves on branch
in foreground, sound of wave in channel

described “one” who “always
knew,” “so that those”

visible forms, which slopes
make, framed in place

grey white clouds to the left of point,
whiteness of gull on tip of GROIN sign

TC said...

This country scares me.

The weaponization is systemic and ubiquitous, from the top down.

It's impossible to think that all this grief would be down to one quiet, friendless boy.

TC said...

Not that America has a patent on the inflicting of suffering upon the innocent.

Nor for that matter on fraudulence made general, for profit.

Pity would be no more,
If we did not make somebody Poor:
And Mercy no more could be,
If all were as happy as we...

That fake snow on Oxford Street might have embarrassed Bob Cratchit, had he ever lived... so long.

(Do real wolves leave real tracks in fake snow?)