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Tuesday 24 January 2012



Radio Listeners' Guide and Call Book, Volume 3, Number 2, November 1928: cover art showing imagined future of television: image by Swtpc, July 2008

Full fathom five thy father lies;
Of his bones are coral made;
Those are pearls that were his eyes;
Nothing of him that doth fade,
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.
Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell:
Hark! now I hear them — Ding-dong, bell.

William Shakespeare: Ariel's song, from The Tempest (1610-1611), I.ii

Girl with Pearl Earring
: Johannes Vermeer (1632-1675), c. 1665 (Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis, The Hague)

Woman with a Pearl Necklace: Johannes Vermeer (1632-1675), c. 1660-1665 (Staatliche Museen, Berlin)

Magdalen (detail)
: Michelangelo Caravaggio (1573-1610), 1594-1596 (Galleria Doria Pamphilj, Rome)

One angry looking Egret in front of HMAS Protector, Heron Island, Queensland: photo by Sirrob01, 2008

Small tank on the Nippo Maru. Sunk during World War II. Chuuk, Federated States of Micronesia
: photo by Dr. Dwayne Meadows, NOAA/NMFS/OPR, 27 September 2010 (NOAA Photo Library)

Looking through hole in Da Na Hino Maru. Sunk during World War II. Chuuk, Federated States of Micronesia
: photo by David Burdick, NOAA/NMFS/OPR, 27 September 2010 (NOAA Photo Library)

Shipwreck in Tobermory, Full Fathom Five National Marine Park, Canada
: photo by Bruce County, 25 June 2008

Black pearl in its shell: photo by Mila Zinkova, 2007


Nin Andrews said...

Beautiful, as always.

I love that first image--and wonder what is a Spanish radio cabinet?

And then all the other images down to the black pearl in its shell. Amazing.

TC said...


I think they mean a large wooden console model with nice legs. Atwater Kent, Wurlitzer and other companies made them.

Here's a family that seems to have been trying to corner the market on the 1928 Atwater Kents.



Beautiful beautiful beautiful --

"Nothing . . . But doth suffer a sea-change"


pink of clouds in sky above black plane
of ridge, jet passing above pine branch
in foreground, wave sounding in channel

goes back to it, what given
transparently visible

exchange of letters, person
only later, potential

grey white cloud against shadowed ridge,
whiteness of gull flapping toward point

nickareeno said...

Hi, Tom.

I like the online photo meditation as a form in itself.

Took a class from you in '85 or so, through Berkeley Extension if I remember correctly. So call this checking in.

Nick O'Connor

vazambam (Vassilis Zambaras) said...

On Vermeer's

girl with pearl
earring her eyes are
unerring pearls two.

TC said...


Posting WS, I always think SR...

goes back to it, what given
transparently visible

exchange of letters, person
only later, potential

... under the weather (in divers fashion, w/o the pearls) here of late, it's cheering (and necessary) to remember that, yes, there is always a later...

(and for that matter, come to think of it, that black plane of ridge, that flapping gull, these ARE the pearls of a generous dailiness... which we owe to you!)


Great to hear from you, and yes I do remember, through all these intervening years of fogs and clouds -- that little classroom up above the creek in Dwinelle, our earnest poetry nights, when all the world was young(er).

Given your screenwriting experience, there is substance (and encouragement) for me in your words --

"the online photo meditation as a form in itself"

-- because, in fact, that is exactly the form this medium has latterly disclosed to me, at a stage when it appeared way too late to learn anything new.

Thanks very much, and do come again when you have the chance, for the meditations shall continue here as long as the ever fickle gods may be so good as to permit (or perhaps I should say, as long as they're looking the other way!).

TC said...


Those fickle gods had hid your words in the barn till just a moment ago... when they came as small points of light, as your words always do.

Yes, the bright highlights on the pearl, the lower lip, the eyes, these are the guiding stars that illuminate the celestial constellation of Vermeer's great genius to us mere earthlings.

I always bow my head in modesty before the work of this artist, as before the numberless splendours of the night sky (in the rare urban moments when those splendours become briefly visible through the mists, the clouds, the smog and reflected light-pollution, that is).

Issa's Untidy Hut said...

Online photo meditations ... yes, the phrase nicely captures this challenging artistic form.

These photos are as if 3D - the viewer can positively swim in them.

And, as great as they are, how is it that these words can shock and amaze and take the breath away every time?

Gorgeous. Thanks.

TC said...


About Ariel's Song -- typing it in, I thought, wow! Yes!

Forever new, never to be taken for granted, like all the great gifts.

And few gems have shone so brightly, for so long, as this one.