Category Archives: Museum of Joy

Museum of Joy


Multiple exposure of Edith Sitwell, by Cecil Beaton

The Web of Eros

Within your magic web of hair, lies furled
The fire and splendour of the ancient world;
The dire gold of the comet’s wind-blown hair;
The songs that turned to gold the evening air
When all the stars of heaven sang for joy.

The flames that burnt the cloud-high city Troy.
The mænad fire of spring on the cold earth;
The myrrh-lit flame that gave both death and birth
To the soul Phoenix; and the star-bright shower
That came to Danaë in her brazen tower…

Within your magic web of hair lies furled
The fire and splendour of the ancient world.

Edith Sitwell, from The Wooden Pegusus

Museum of Joy: In that sensual music all neglect

saville ancestors byzantium

Jenny Saville, Ancestors

Soul clap its hands and sing, and louder sing
For every tatter in its mortal dress,
Nor is there singing school but studying
Monuments of its own magnificence;
And therefore I have sailed the seas and come
To the holy city of Byzantium.

William Butler Yeats, Sailing to Byzantium

Grendel’s Laundry List: Dancing under the Gallows

The Magpie on the Gallows, by Pieter Brueghel the Elder

Musuem of Joy: Peter Bruegel the Elder, The Magpie on the Gallows (detail)

Protocols of the Dancing Elders 
of the Seventh Day Atheist Aztec Baptist Synod*

There is a music which underlies all things.  We dance to the tunes all our lives, though our living ears never hear the music which guides and moves us.

Anon. Dancing Elder

A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.


When someone blunders, we say that he makes a misstep. Is it then not clear that all the ills of mankind, all the tragic misfortunes that fill our history books, all the political blunders, all the failures of the great leaders have arisen merely from the lack of skill in dancing.

Elder Moliere

A day that is not danced is a day that is not lived. I would believe only in a God that knows how to dance.

Elder Nietzsche

To dance is to be out of yourself. Larger, more beautiful, more powerful. This is power, it is glory on earth and it is yours for the taking.

Elder Agnes De Mille

If I could tell you what it meant, there would be no point in dancing it.

Elder Isadora Duncan

On with the dance, let the joy be unconfined, is my motto; whether there’s any dance to dance or any joy to be unconfined.

Elder Mark Twain

I just put my feet in the ground and move them around.

Elder Fred Astaire

*Grendel’s Laundry List is an irregular but continuing series of readings in texts helpful to an understanding of the Atheology and Theodicy of the Seventh Day Atheist Aztec Baptist Church.


Museum of Joy: Ursine

William Holbrook Beard the bears

William Holbrook BeardThe Bears

The great blue bear
rises at dusk, over the scrolled light
of day, in early spring.

Stars stuck in his paws like thorns,
his long stiff tail
hung on a peg
like the handle of a black iron skillet,
he unwinds, the grandfather
of all clocks
and collects his tolls
ticking over the bed of dreaming earth.

All kinked with winter,
the bear hugs to himself
the great cold swarm of far suns,
the ten thousand and one torn and curdled veils
of she who he so loved
that when, in her den, he raked up her must
from the litter
of her splendor
the bear could only seek her as prey.

The bear dips and pours, gigantic ladle,
dips and stirs
muddying the black water of the cauldron
with cold milt.
Prospecting for roe, he slaps meteors
like salmon
from the milky way.

You who have eyes, drink in this dark.

In holy greed the bear laps at stardust,
the sludge of nebulas, the seep
of blue honey from a drowsy hive
of black holes,
until his tongue
is buzzing with sisters.

You who have eyes, taste
in the salt of tears
the sting of sweet jesus in mother night.

I’m feeling rather bearish today. This happens to me in May. I wrote the poem, The Great Bear, back in, um,  May 1995 or so, and posted it on the Tent Show in May 2010. I still like it. And it is May.

Museum of Joy: The Eyes have Owls

stone face owl eyes

If I find out the who, what, and where of this image, I will update. If any of you know, please leave a comment.

Museum of Joy: Monstrous Anatomy

japanese monster anatomy

Shigeru Mizuki, from Yōkai Daizukai

The Kuro-kamikiri (“black hair cutter”) is a large, black-haired creature that sneaks up on women in the street at night and surreptitiously cuts off their hair.


Museum of Joy: Blue Hades

hadean zircon 4 4 billion yo big twk fill

Zircon crystal formed 4.4 billion years ago during Hadean Eon.