Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Gainsborough by Bob Atkinson

(c)2012 Bob Atkinson

born in the year '27
in Taurus, a good sign
late in the evening's darkness
 a Wednesday's crisp spring night

he gave what few had given
in those days of circumstance
something to the world at large
beyond both song and dance

captured memories of the past
those golden scenes of his depiction
those expressive faces 
and flowing gowns
all now gone, or ripped to pieces

those beauties with fine faces
those smiles and sulking looks
those poses without expression
those frowns of devil's hooks

today we have what isn't ours
because he was a man
who could leave for all to see
what life looked like back then

died in '88
an event for us to lament
his passing tore from our hearts
one of history's best connections

have this feeling we cannot shake
we know it very well, indeed
the internal wanting, craving
to view those early seeds

seeds sewn that created us
those seeds of circumstance
so different from our own we see
what has become such emptyness

  those with such different mores
those times of struggle to stay alive
those times of life much harder
those times of fierce internal pride

those things we grew apart from
those character traits adorned
of those now dead and buried
still able to teach us better norms

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Bohemian Gathering Place

Gathering Place

(c)2012 Bob Atkinson

find a place where you can go
to see those bodies of like mind
those who, as you, live in thought
which creates the art so fine

artistic words and sculptures
brush stroked canvas portraits
those things we all love to hate
created from nothingness
by strong internal mind forces

not so easy to arrive
at the station they all go
you must be famous or getting there
or you'll get that old cold shoulder

sensing feelings in the room
those bohemians who agitate
with brush and pen and clay to form
art with fine skilled graces

then there are those who have
adopted the written word
as their choice for display of
artistic or evil thoughts absurd

for political agitation
if that is what they seek
trying to get across those precepts
they hold and loudly speak

so, their ways fit into
attitudes of this group of saints
becomes a cause given to much thought
which can drive artistic creation

create that which was before
but a blank page or canvas
or ball of clay laid on the floor
now formed to judges satisfaction

Friday, February 17, 2012

Portrait of Frederic Villot by Bob Atkinson

Portrait of 
Frederic Villot

(C)2012 Bob Atkinson

oh my such a scandal
like something from the masters
a portrait of a friend for life
done with tradition's grain

not fiddling with imagination
not playing with design
or working with those new techniques
that worry critics' minds

here is a friend in close detail
as near to life as could
be had with brush and oils
and memory that's good

no smile of appreciation
a model serious in outlook
someone going to be the man
who catalogs at the Louvre

now here in the early times
friends who need each other
begin a bond for a lifetime
by studying closely one another

the Duel of Manet and Duranty by Bob Atkinson

the Duel of Manet and Duranty

(c)2012 Bob Atkinson

two friends were having coffee
on the Avenue de Clichy
was not the 23rd, a Wednesday
but the 24th of February

a Thursday when all who came
to see Manet talk of Art
felt the passion of those voices
when he and Duranty fought

laughed and joked, and said some things
they wished they had not said
in the end it got quite serious
when Manet slapped Duranty's head

then with each other louder still
each spoke some evil words
bantered back and forth with fire
at each other madly cursed

let us go back a bit
to the center of the stage
when this all began
what caused these fellow's rage

Manet had entered in the show
two paintings he had done
and Duranty told the folks in town
these works were but hum drum

Duranty as a critic of Art
in the art world quite well known
Manet was only an artist
who shoved his ideas home

was not a long drawn dissertation
Duranty had designed
just a few words of caution
on these works he thought not fine

he believed the truth was good
at least the truth he saw
so when Manet objected to
words with his pen drawn

the two friends got in a spat
on the Avenue de Clichy
at the Cafe' Guerbois
near the center of the city

the anger built in each of them
was not a pretty sight
Manet had objected to
what he thought not right

so when one friend struck the other
with hand across the head
was not something expected
was something one should dread

Duranty asked him
"Sir would you "apologize for that?"
to which Manet answered back
"Not even to my hat"

"Sir then I must ask you
to give me satisfaction
on the field of honor
that is what I'm asking"

two friends fought a bitter duel
with swords on the battlefield of honor
with seconds standing in to stop it
when one sliced the other's arm

next day two friends drank some beer
coffee not strong enough for them
kept friendship alive in spite of fights
spoke words of gentle caution

Baudelaire's take on all of this:

At The Cafe 1878 - Manet

At The Cafe 1878

(c)2012 Bob Atkinson

she looked to the side at him
her mind was in a rage
"how dare you stare in such a manner"
she said with open airs

with humble roots below him
he did not give reply
just smiled and looked away
wanting openly to cry

how could she make him feel so small?
how could she irritate
his ego in such an open manner
taking food off of his plate

the others seemed not to notice
more interested in their beer
than what this lady of no distinction
had chatted on so fiercely

don't peg me in that square hole
thought the man with beard so full
don't let me introduce myself
to such a foul mouthed girl

the lady waiting for her beer
pretended not to hear
frozen waiting for tension to pass
no muss, no fuss, no fears

there behind them in the room
others rambled onward with their tomes
about their lives, wants and desires
cost of cigars and homes

here in the smoky atmosphere
of Brasserie Reichshoffen's walls
on the boulevard Rochenchourt
drama had been drawn

in the open field of dreams
where all had run across
the senses, stares and wild desires
of consequence for those of us

us, who let their dreaming
influence their outer looks
and seem to transmit feelings
best left within their thoughts

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Baudelaire by Bob Atkinson

(c)2012 Bob Atkinson
freedom of speech is relative
as he learned with Les Fleurs du mal
to speak of things best left unsaid
can be one's quick downfall

characters upon the words
which sailed from his closed lips
to the pen and hence the paper
included unspoken forbidden quips

one who ruled the paper's points
and threw caution to the gale
indeed always set his sights
on that which might ever fail

and fail he did to bring along
the people to their freedom
of word, of thought of simple deed
into that maelstrom dreaming

dreaming of his natural fears
those which he did equate
to violence, lust and all those ideals
which had shaken, brutally, all of us

now the times have come full circle
who do we have to blame
for those animations we expose
to our children with their games

I, in my selfishness, feel he is my kin
although his bravery exceeds my own
my senses recall his themes

simple long lost whims of life
that which throws one back
to the ageless barbaric soul
of those whose lives are past

the Empty Protest by Bob Atkinson

The Empty Protest

(c)2012 Bob Atkinson

if and when I was to be
set within a group
would want the banner to exclaim
my many complex roots

say out with letters really high
that my efforts are sincere
not trying to find some strange way
to establish something queer

can't say it isn't right
when nobody knows what it is
that's the secret to its life
without which would disappear

so you say I did you wrong
but not say how or why
gives me a sinking feeling
are you just pie in the sky?

may be wrong in this assessment
don't have all good facts
about the whys and wherefores
and all those this and thats

tell me plainly
what is your purpose
I will participate in earnest
show me what you mean with this
don't show me pompous rear ended quips

don't drag down what is built
without something complex to replace it
for I think you may be someone's toad
or someone without directional graces

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Simple by Bob Atkinson


(c)2012 Bob Atkinson

satiate the ordinary
elevate the sublime
rotate without demand
mucking up the crime

tossing ego to the wind
within a frame of mind
wiggling out of it
when pointed out in line

sure, one can idolize
look to those who stay
within the frame of what's good
or bad in any way

here, with ordinary thoughts
those that propagate
all who feel that way too
sit quietly and wait

wait for more to be said
and explained along the way
sad for me for I have longed
for the older, simple days

Purpose by Bob Atkinson


(c)2012 Bob Atkinson

carry me home
no, let me walk
to the place
where I was born

stand and breathe so deeply
as if for the first time
stretch and feel nature
as she surrounds our lives

turn and look the other way
then back this way again
over the shoulder then up
to the sky with colored bands

all is calm within this realm
all satisfies the wants
to have been is what I feel
is plenty good enough

Friday, February 10, 2012

The Real Art of War by Bob Atkinson

The Real Art of War

(c)2012 Bob Atkinson

no matter whom you fight
no matter what the foe
take care to treat them gently
for someday you will know

they may become one of you
or you'll be one of them
and bitter feelings left behind
can bring all life to ruin

don't fight the enemy toe to toe
engulf him with your good
and let him know when he dances
you'll clap to his wild moves

try to understand his reason
try to know him quite well
try to give him your good side
before you send him straight to hell

avoid mass violent carnage
collect his units whole
cut him off and let him find
his strength can't carry him home

take him to your good side
tell him all you know
and let his own reason
upon all loving peace bestow

if your good side is shallow
if your pride is false
let him know you have learned
from his fathers' patient talk

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Leander's Battle by Bob Atkinson

Leander's Battle

(c)2012 Bob Atkinson

in November, the year before
she'd been launched amid great cheer
her namesake fought many hard battles
had been captured and then released

many seas had seen the old one's keel
many ships and captains too
had found great glory or harsh shame
in her, as soldiers and sailors tend to do

now a new form sailed the waves
christened with the Leander name
but on this night her broadsides held
not victory to add to her fame

  on the waves was thirsted 
that martial will of man
to gain control over others
always was their devious plan

yet here in the harbor of Baltimore
was assigned only bombardment duty
had sought the glory of pitched battle
like fighting Napoleon's strongest navy

how could she find lasting fame
when all her guns were trained
not on a man o' war
but on the buttressed shore?

the fort, McHenry, stood so still
no maneuver or return fire there
no running fight, was bombed at night
with five dozen guns aflame

she gave as good as a 4th rate could
shoving terror to the souls
who manned the fort and kept the fight
from moving quickly to the shore

in the morning she had seen
the flag of rebellion wave
quite tattered, the fort was battered
yet still flew glory upon that stake

the pole it had been raised there on
seemed to peacefully flutter the flag
here in the light that passed the night
still stood, was all that mattered

so nothing much caused a change
in where the battle flowed
except upon one ship called "Thundering”
where Francis Key had seen the glory

an eighty gun ship of the line
captured from the French at Aboukir
seemed destined to lead the conquest
of those upstarts, the colonist curs

bombarded in the dark of night
had not been left to rest
the fort stayed true to its belief
in honor over bartered peace

stripes and stars shined ever brightly
seemed they ever would
never leaving conquest to those whom
her people grossly misunderstood

to not strike colors in the glow
of such a fiery rain
held pride above all mortal trials
in this forceful warrior's game

Key, the poet, saw Leander
in her glory void
not take that banner to the ground
with guns ablaze for hours

left him feeling pride so deep
that he wrote the whole story down
gave his poem to the world
so they could recall the sounds

Sunday, February 5, 2012

My Dream by Bob Atkinson

My Dream
(c)2012 Bob Atkinson

my dream is of a country
of many different ways
that which is different
that which is the same

that which gives
and that which takes
and that which lays out strong
pretty cities in vast flat valleys
clearly flowing water falls

deep harbors at her oceans
where ships come and go
to transfer our great wisdom
to so many other folks

that which we conquer
because of who we are
proves we are responsible
top dogs and best at arts

my dream is that we become
not dependent upon the chance
for storm and ice and heat of night
to break our brothers' backs

my dream is that we
not fight to prove who's right
killing persons should hold horror
not fists held to the sky

those awful sinful motives
false justification for wrong lives
props up the cycle of violence
that brings misery to all eyes

if selfish in our actions
by giving power only to our bands
we find we have retreated
in our desire to hold good stand

this takes us back to the primitive
and preys upon those falsehoods
some teach to their own kind
raising useless little broods

my dream holds that we
build cities that will last
tall and long which connect together
other towns within our lands

let them not rise above
ugly streets paved with black asphalt
with lines of power strung as if
like a frayed wicker basket

spires are not well thought out
take so much to time to build
they give us not the beauty
or function we need shining through

if we build the better way
we can organize
a country where all the lands
reach for all outstretched hands

long, along the highways
nearly high up to the clouds
our cities need reach to the east
and west at the same time

trains held within their ribbons
that give all access to
everyone so we can feel harmony
if that's what we want to do

let the rocks fall on our heads
let the ocean waves
wash ashore in high shelves
our lives will be the same

because we have learned
barbarity isn't pride
spitting into faces prompts
sadness in all our lives

we should find it isn't right
to kill those whom we oppose
while licking our own wounds
sitting in our rubbled homes

why not join together?
in desires as exposed
building lives of peaceful dreams
the good life for all we know

Making One's World by Bob Atkinson

Making One's World

(c)2012 Bob Atkinson

to sense the superior nature
of one's world and mind
has a natural origin
in biology derived from science

with others one may not be
familiar with those strange lives
or state of learning or progression
that comes with those different minds

minds that give into base
feelings of primitive souls
minds that hate the others
because of who they are

ignorance may be bliss
or simply stupidity on the side
when one looks at the unalike
with a strong false sense of pride

we all have our strengths
we all have those weaknesses
which give us all our frame of mind
our aggressions and our sheepishness

to look at and see others in
a strong judgmental way
holds only shallow meaning
reducing our status because of hate

another may feel the same
who is right? we'll never know
who holds the candle higher?
who promotes the better show?

evolution's progression
that which we aspire to
creates the beast of most strength
by saying “we” not “you”

The Leander Affair

The Leander Affair

(c)2012 Bob Atkinson

such is the way we see
ourselves as in the middle
while others see us in the wrong
some just play their fiddles

Leander comes to mind as such
an example of the ways
in which questions of right and wrong
were subordinated to the stronger arm

back in imperial days
when force was used for profit
men of arms carried out their orders
without insight or strength to stop it

Leander stood off the coast
looking for evidence of trade
with those with whom the empire
fought their silly forceful game

some called themselves in the right
some knew they were in the wrong
yet either way their martial deeds
caused fire and death to throngs

finding one can loose his head
by minding traditions inert
hence setting off real emotions
of those marching across the dirt

few ships spanned the time
when force was used so much
as a simple way of life
violent promotion of them against us

some who had those histories
of lives so parallel
took to the martial ways
which sent them all to hell

hell can be defined as
where the evil go
or where the struggle takes us
on this road to our Alamo

Leander fought for many years
not for simple right or wrong
she fought for defined ways
upon which nature urged her on

natural conflict between all parties
who struggle to dominate
with thoughts and preachings,
holistic teachings
and violence for those who take

a stance against the other
whose empire wants to control
minds and commerce
through simple dominance
along that old dog's road

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Plight of the Jellyfish by Bob Atkinson

Plight of the Jellyfish

(c)2012 Bob Atkinson

forty guns she had aboard
launched in year eighteen ten
her purpose meant for war upon
those seas so far from France

a simple sailor's hard won dream
a beautiful fast ship of combat
so wonderfully equipped and manned
through waves she slipped so briskly

a captain appointed doubtfully
for reasons not clearly known
sailing skill and wise decision making
were lacking, yet he had backed the throne

headed for the Bank of Arguin
to become embroiled in distress
confused guidance carried her
below the surface to rest

Gericault captured pain of death
inflicted upon the men of salt
seizing, freezing emotions of struggle
in that painting of the deadly raft caught

caught out where it left
those men with so few options
survival at first was offered
then in the end withdrawn from them

tow ropes were cast off
leaving souls to ponder fate
of those who lacked the basic needs
to reject death as something strange

all who trusted lives with faith
to the captain amateur
felt the wrath of incompetence
as salt waves broke overboard

decisions less smart than bold
the triumph of ego over sense
she blew out her hull from pressure
as she scraped wood
against hard granite

in a later time when a ship followed
in the way of this fine craft
following too close to shore again
resulted again in more pain and death

as a white ship touched the shoals
to sink decks beneath the waves
was revealed that her captain too
broke the hull upon rocks raised

so twice and many more times
a captain left to chance
the survival of ship and men
by lacking common nautical sense

a ship is made for the ocean
upon it gracefully she glides
needing water under keel
without it she will surely die

die the death incongruous
how could he navigate
so close to those rocks of danger
smashing hull upon mortality's open gate?