My week illustrated

Saturday:

Sunday:

Monday:

Tuesday:

Wednesday:

Thursday:

Friday:


Images in the public domain, modified t.g.

  • Saturday — Zandrie by Marian Edwards Richards, 1909, illustration by Harriet Roosevelt Richards, published by The Century Co., contributed by New York Public Library, digitized by Google Books, books.google.com
  • Sunday — Happy Days by Oliver Herford, 1917, illustrated by John Cecil Clay, published by Mitchell Kennerley, Internet Archive, contributed by University of California Libraries, digitizing sponsor Microsoft, archive.org
  • Monday — Wellcome Collection. ‘A young woman of Vienna who died of cholera, depicted four hours before death.’ Coloured stipple engraving, c.1831. wellcomecollection.org
  • Tuesday — Happy Days by Oliver Herford, 1917, illustrated by John Cecil Clay, published by Mitchell Kennerley, Internet Archive, contributed by University of California Libraries, digitizing sponsor Microsoft, archive.org
  • Wednesday — I got this from an old book years ago but can’t find my notes with the source; oops.
  • Thursday — Woman in Sacred Song, compiled and edited by Eva Munson Smith, 1888 edition, published by Arthur E. Whitney, digitized by Google Books, books.google.com
  • Friday — Wellcome Collection. ‘Skeletons dancing.’ Etching by R. Stamper after Christopher Sharp. 1700s. wellcomecollection.org

E. Markham portraits

When I saw photographs in an old book of the poet Edwin Markham, I had a sudden urge to try the “barbaric yawp” scene from Dead Poets Society. Teacher John Keating challenges student Todd Anderson to create a poem on the spot, after glancing at a photo of Walt Whitman on the wall. So, I stared at the pictures of Markham and wrote the exact words that came to me, without allowing myself to edit. Below are my two poems based on two portraits, and below that is the Whitman-inspired poem from the film.

Edwin Markham portrait from the The Man with the Hoe with Notes by the Author

“Side Portrait of Edwin Markham”
hair like roaming waves of the sea
eyes reflecting the light of heaven—
studious, compassionate, soulful—
pythagorean shiny nose
laugh lines loved into place
a beard that let the cat in
face aglow with manly health,
honesty and freedom
—Terri Guillemets

Edwin Markham portrait from Gates of Paradise

“Markham Portrait with Book”
a thinking eye
but jolly cheek
a furrowed brow
but kindly stance;
the hair of a hippie
and student & master—
the burden of life
and love of wife—but
something perpetually
unsettled within him;
button-up coat over
raw, naked soul—
a book in his hand
and ten in his pen
—Terri Guillemets

Walt Whitman

“I close my eyes, and
his image floats beside me—
a sweaty-toothed madman
with a stare that pounds my brain.
His hands reach out and choke me
and all the time he’s mumbling—
mumbling truth, like a blanket
that always leaves your feet cold.
You push it, stretch it,
it will never be enough;
you kick at it, beat it,
it’ll never cover any of us.
From the moment we enter crying
to the moment we leave dying,
it’ll just cover your face
as you wail and cry and scream.”
—Tom Schulman, “Sweaty-Toothed Madman,” Dead Poets Society, 1989, spoken by the character Todd Anderson

“I too am not a bit tamed — I too am untranslatable,
I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world.”
—Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass, 1856 edition