Archives for posts with tag: muses

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MY DOG…(Excerpts)
Poem by Pablo Neruda

… my dog used to gaze at me,
paying me the attention I need,
the attention required
to make a vain person like me understand
that, being a dog, he was wasting time,
but, with those eyes so much purer than mine,
he’d keep on gazing at me
with a look that reserved for me alone
all his sweet and shaggy life,
always near me, never troubling me,
and asking nothing.

Ai, how many times have I envied his tail
as we walked together on the shores of the sea
in the lonely winter of Isla Negra
where the wintering birds filled the sky
and my hairy dog was jumping about
full of the voltage of the sea’s movement:
my wandering dog, sniffing away
with his golden tail held high,
face to face with the ocean’s spray.

Joyful, joyful, joyful,
as only dogs know how to be happy
with only the autonomy
of their shameless spirit…

Note on the Author: A native of Chile, Pablo Neruda (1904-1973) won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1971. Novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez called Neruda, “The greatest poet of the 20th century in any language.”

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Yesterday, we wrote about writers and artists and their dog muses. Today, we wrote about John Steinbeck. Thought I’d combine the two with this nod to John Steinbeck’s memoir about traveling with his beloved poodle.

I became enamored with all things Steinbeck while still in my teens and read Travels with Charley late in my Steinbeck phase.

In my recollection, two things stand about the book. First, Steinbeck thought Montana the most beautiful state in the union. Second, the great writer kept anticipating the day when he could let Charley loose to do what male dogs do on a giant redwood. After pages and pages of build-up, when they finally got to Big Sur, Charley didn’t recognize the enormous trees as, well…trees. Steinbeck was beyond disappointed.

But the takeaway from the whole book is the poignant, significant, profound relationship between man and dog. Find Travels with Charley at Amazon.com here.

Note: Several articles have appeared in the past year or so questioning (okay, refuting) Steinbeck’s account of his trip with Charley. Find a New York Times article by Charles McGrath here. Find an article at Reason.com by Bill Steigerwald here.

Today, Buzzfeed ran an interesting piece called “16 Brilliant Artists and Their Animal Muses” by Summer Anne Burton. After reading the article and studying the photos of the 16 brilliant artists and their animal muses, I was struck by one idea: Three of my favorite artists — David Hockney, Pablo Picasso, and Andy Warhol were crazy for dachshunds!

Dachsuhuds are in a class by themselves (Group 4, according to the World Canine Federation) because they’re the only canines that hunt both above and below ground. Sounds like a wonderful description for an artist’s muse — putting the work out into the world, but burrowing into the unconscious to produce it.

Here are some charming photos of the three famous doxie lovers.

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David Hockney took his dachshunds Stanley and Boodgie everywhere — and loved to draw and paint his beloved companions.

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Andy Warhol featured his dachshunds Archie (pictured above) and Amos in many of his works.

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Pablo Picasso adored his dachshund Lump (German for “rascal”), who lived to age 16. 

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MY DOG…(Excerpts)

Poem by Pablo Neruda

… my dog used to gaze at me,
paying me the attention I need,
the attention required
to make a vain person like me understand
that, being a dog, he was wasting time,
but, with those eyes so much purer than mine,
he’d keep on gazing at me
with a look that reserved for me alone
all his sweet and shaggy life,
always near me, never troubling me,
and asking nothing.

Ai, how many times have I envied his tail
as we walked together on the shores of the sea
in the lonely winter of Isla Negra
where the wintering birds filled the sky
and my hairy dog was jumping about
full of the voltage of the sea’s movement:
my wandering dog, sniffing away
with his golden tail held high,
face to face with the ocean’s spray.

Joyful, joyful, joyful,
as only dogs know how to be happy
with only the autonomy
of their shameless spirit…

Note on the Author: A native of Chile, Pablo Neruda (1904-1973) won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1971. Novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez called Neruda, “The greatest poet of the 20th century in any language.”

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Nobody before or since has been able to capture the feline essence like the wondrous Walasse Ting (1929-2010). For many artists and writers, cats are muses — and this was definitely true for Ting. Enjoy!