"In This World" (#3 from "Quartet in Autumn")
"In This World" and "Sext" (#3  & #4 from "Quartet in Autumn")
Oil pencil, pastel, & watercolor
12"x 9"
2014
 
"Sext" is one the two mid-day offices of the Cistercian daily, liturgical cycle. The strangely disjointed cloister is that of Le Thoronet (Very-Modern Corbusier's favorite abbey) in Provence, and the transept is that of Noirlac Abbey, in Brueres-Allichamp.
 
I finished these two, small pictures over the past four days, bearing in mind my longtime friend, Gibbons (I've known him since he was a skinny, little, 18 year old freshman at Sewanee.....many years ago), who made the hard journey back to New Orleans this past weekend to bury his father.
 
I recently re-read (for the first time since I was eighteen , myself) William Styron's rather over-enormous, but very fine, "Sophie's Choice" ....just for the closing paragraphs.  Styron is, of course, quoting from Emily Dickinson's "Ample Make This Bed" in his closing lines):
 
"It was then that the tears finally spilled forth--not maudlin, drunken tears, but tears which, beginning on the train ride from Washington, I had tried manfully to resist and could resist no longer, having kept them so bottled up that now, almost alarmingly, they drained out in warm rivulets between my fingers.  It was, of course, the memory....but it was also a letting go of rage and sorrow for the many others who during these past months had battered at my mind and now demanded my mourning....who were but a few of the beaten and butchered and betrayed and martyred children of the earth...
 
.....I was unprepared to weep for all humanity, but I did weep for these others who in one way or another had become dear to me, and my sobs made an unashamed racket across the abandoned beach; then I had no more tears to shed, and I lowered myself to the sand on legs that suddenly seemed strangely frail and rickety for a man of twenty-two.  And I slept.
 
.....When I awoke, it was early morning. I lay looking straight up at the blue green sky with its transluscent shawl of mist; like a tiny orb of crystal, solitary and serene.....
 
....but this was not Judgement day----only morning. Morning: excellent and fair."
 
William Styron, from "Sophie's Choice"