01 December 2010

The Owls

"Under the overhanging yews,

The dark owls sit in solemn state,
Like stranger gods; by twos and twos
Their red eyes gleam. They meditate.

Motionless thus they sit and dream
Until that melancholy hour
When, with the sun's last fading gleam,
The nightly shades assume their power.

From their still attitude the wise
Will learn with terror to despise
All tumult, movement, and unrest;

For he who follows every shade,
Carries the memory in his breast,
Of each unhappy journey made."
 - The Owls by Charles Baudelaire

1.  Utagawa Hiroshige - Smalll Horned Owl On A Maple Branch Under A Full Moon, Museumof Fine Arts, Boston.
2.  Helen Tupke-Grande (1874-1946)  - untitled/ Three Owls, c.1920.


Rouchswalwe said...

Three owls and three greats all together, Hiroshige, Baudelaire, and Tupke-Grande. I don't know much about Tupke-Grande. Her owls are looking at us with a wee bit of mischief in their eyes ...

Jane said...

I agree Tupke-Grande is the odd one out of this trio. Given the French inffatuation for all things 'oriental', especially woodblock prints, I think the ilustrations aren't too fartfetched. When I was in school and starting to read Penguin Classics editions I chanced on a withering article by some critic who lambasted their choices of cover images and I think it traumatized me. So, thank you!

femminismo said...

Great owls, lovely poem (perhaps "lovely" isn't the right word), and I love the two women on the Life cover. The road not taken sort of thing. The post on Coco Chanel is great, too. I wear Madmoiselle Coco. Love it and everyone remembers it.

Jane said...

Jeanne, I worry when I don't hear from you. The quote that I used for the title of the Life vignette was written by Alice Duerr Miller, subject of my very first post. It's from her 1915 book "Are Women Human?" It is terrific! You can read it online as it's linked to her biography on Wikipedia. I was excited to see that, as it's been out of print for my entire lifetime.
As to perfumes, my favorites are "Ma Griffe" by Carven and "Daim Blond" by Serge Lutens.

Anonymous said...


Glad you noted your favorite perfumes. Ma Griffe I know and love. Will have to look for Daim Blond.

Meantime, an old Texas expression: "He's about as smart as a treeful of owls."


Jane said...

Julie, I found Daim Blond at Bergdorf Goodman in Manhattan. Sometimes it's available online, but sells out quickly - and never at a discount. It's outstanding and worth every penny if you want something special. I love owls. For Halloween I featured Helen Hyde's 'ghost-owls.'