Richibi’s Weblog

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Category: Eugène Ysaÿe

“Essay on Wood” – James Richardson


Piet Mondrian - "Woods Near Oele" (1908)

Woods Near Oele (1908)

Piet Mondrian


if my last entry was about an Étude
in the Form of a Waltz
an unlikely
combination, here’s an essay in the
form of a poem, kind of like my
own stuff



Essay on Wood

At dawn when rowboats drum on the dock
and every door in the breathing house bumps softly
as if someone were leaving quietly, I wonder
if something in us is made of wood,
maybe not quite the heart, knocking softly,
or maybe not made of it, but made for its call.

Of all the elements, it is happiest in our houses.
It will sit with us, eat with us, lie down
and hold our books (themselves a rustling woods),
bearing our floors and roofs without weariness,
for unlike us it does not resent its faithfulness
or question why, for what, how long?

Its branchings have slowed the invisible feelings of light
into vortices smooth for our hands,
so that every fine-grained handle and page and beam
is a wood-word, a standing wave:
years that never pass, vastness never empty,
speed so great it cannot be told from peace.

James Richardson

“Caprice d’après l’étude en forme de valse de Saint-Saëns” – Eugène Ysaÿe

Salvador Dali "Homage to Erik Satie" (c. 1926)

Homage to Erik Satie (c. 1926)

Salvador Dali


the very variety, the infinite variety,
of possibilities in music, in any art,
in any craft, in any even venture,
has had me believe in a diversified
world rather than the monotheistic
one we’ve been trained to ascribe
to, I believe in Olympus rather than
in Purgatory, Hell, and Heaven, I
see many more variations on a
theme, always, than immutable
objects, we are even ourselves in
constant, ever evolving, flux, look
at me, I’m not the boy, not the even
young man I used to be, though I
was never, of course, as wise as
I am now, later in life, or so I feel
I can continue to tell myself, ha ha

on this multiplicity read the
accomplished and convincing
Martha Nussbaum, incidentally

as an example of this exuberant
fruition consider this wonderful
interplay of artists and forms,
Ysaÿe‘s Caprice d’après l’étude
en forme de valse de Saint-Saëns

Caprice on the Study in Waltz
Form of Saint-Saëns

here’s the study, Étude en forme
de valse, op 52, no 6
from which
it’s taken

don’t overlook either the “exuberant
” above, the Dali on Satie

or find it again right here, just click