So I found a historical photo that was too good not to share. What you see here is the grave of Mary Washington, George Washington’s mother, in my college town of Fredericksburg, VA.
It ought to look a bit strange to my college friends who remember the site. What is now known (officially, anyway) as Kenmore Park/Memorial Park was a popular walking destination for students at Mary Washington College. (This is the site of “Mary’s Rock.” And if you partied downtown and walked back to campus, chances are you walked past it.) This site is just off Washington Avenue. The Gordon Family Cemetery was behind the obelisk. (The cemetery is pictured at left here — see the low wall — as this picture is looking northwest.)
Look at how small and sparse then trees were in 1912. (They were pretty big by the 1990’s.) This is part of a group of public domain images here at Project Gutenberg. They vary in quality, but some of them are pretty neat.
This Throwback Thursday is really just for my fellow Mary Washington College grads — what you see below are issues of Aubade, the school’s annual literary magazine, for years 1991 through 1994. (They appear chronologically.) For some reason I thought I remembered that the magazine was published more than once a year, but apparently I was mistaken. (College was a very long time ago.)
I submitted a poem here only once when I was an undergraduate, and it was rejected (probably with good reason). It didn’t bother me for long. I’d like to think that I was a don’t-sweat-the-small-stuff kind of guy even back then.
Aubade was really a terrific lit mag. You can judge for yourself by leafing through these right here over at the Internet Archive. The site’s layout and format makes it quick and easy — and they’ve got issues of the magazine from as early as 1971. Wow.
Fredericksburg, VA. Photo by Eduardo Montes-Bradley, 2015.
Eduardo Montes-Bradley / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)
She’s a painter in oils in the land of the blind —
and a sculptor over the dead.
The deaf will demur to her poetry
while epics roar in her head.
Like Cassandra, who spun futures
so dolefully from frenzied lips,
Her words are as mad to insensate hearts
as sea-sunk towers, desert ships.
Would that I could assuage that hearth
where her discernment smolders —
my hands around the hard and the white
limestone of her shoulders.
(c) Eric Robert Nolan 2020
“Evening Mood,” William-Adolphe Bouguereau, 1882
Contagion is a despot poet. It
releases fatal verses from its throne.
Its alabaster palm will lean to sow
what words will wind within their binding strictures
each arriving low, in permanent cursive,
at the many nadirs of pages — each
to immutable conclusion,
to shared, indelible metaphor:
dirges upon April mornings
eulogies at afternoon
rimes to loss at rayless night, as stars,
so slowly overflying a singing, dim landscape of endowed poetry,
are indistinct, indifferent.
(c) Eric Robert Nolan 2020
Photo credit: By Helgi Halldórsson from Reykjavík, Iceland – darkness, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=33782100
I’m honored today to see The Drabble feature my short poem, “November, Blue Ridge Mountains, 1992.”
“November, Blue Ridge Mountains, 1992,” by Eric Robert Nolan
This is just another strange ad campaign from the 1980’s — Spuds Mackenzie was the mascot for Bud Light. People went nuts for the dog — the campaign spawned a ton of merchandising. (People in the 80’s got worked up over the damnedest things.)
In the interest of full disclosure, I will confess here that I myself owned a Spuds MacKenzie button at the close of the decade. I wore it on my dark gray denim jacket — along with a bunch of other arbitrarily selected buttons that I thought made me look extremely cool. (It was a late-80’s thing.) Hell, I even wore that jacket-and-button ensemble during the first semester at Mary Washington College.
Weird world — Spuds was actually a female dog. She was a rescue dog, and she was named “Honey Tree Evil Eye.” (I feel certain there is an interesting story behind that.) And Mothers Against Drunk Driving lobbied against the ad campaign as it allegedly targeted children.
Hey, guys — remember the “Open Letter to President Donald J. Trump Upon His Acquittal” that I wrote a few weeks back? The Bristol Herald Courier ran it Wednesday as a letter to the editor.
The newspaper is published in Bristol, Virginia, and has a readership of 39,000. It won the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service in 2010.
You can find the letter right here.
Four deer follow me,
a noiseless ensemble upon the grass.
The night notes not the absent strings
in their quiet quartet.
“A Winter Dinner in the Forest,” Ludwig Beckmann, 1872
Do not get lost in a sea of despair. Be hopeful, be optimistic. Our struggle is not the struggle of a day, a week, a month, or a year, it is the struggle of a lifetime. Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble.
— United States Representative John Lewis (D-GA 5th District)
Lewis is far right in the photo below. The man second from right is the late civil rights leader James Farmer, who was a professor of mine at Mary Washington College.
From Wikimedia Commons: Lewis (far right) with Bayard Rustin, Andrew Young, Congressman William Fitts Ryan, and James Farmer 1965.
Photo credit: Stanley Wolfson, World Telegram staff photographer, via Library of Congress.