Archive for Scandinavian Travel

End of September

End of September


September is ending.  I hardly

recall its beginning, so quickly…

I am distracted by the Monarch

that sips from the verbena, dips

into the marigolds for a moment,

then flies to the coleus blossoms…

the time since Labor Day has flown.

I wonder…I am no butterfly,

but I behave like one.

Perhaps I too am preparing for

a long journey to my winter home.


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In Helsinki, Finland, I visited the Ateneum Art Museum where there was a special exhibit celebrating the 150th anniversary of the birth of Helen Schjerfbeck, an important Nordic artist.  The museum’s website has excellent information about the exhibit and the artist, but seeing the original works in the country of her birth was amazing.

Scandinavian women artists were very active in the 19th and early 20th centuries.  Americans mostly think of Mary Cassatt as one of the only female artists working at the time, but women like Schjerfbeck and the Danish artist Anna Archer, traveled in Scandinavia and Europe and lived and studied in Paris as well.  They produced bodies of work that uniquely drew upon their experiences as Nordic women. 

 On Viewing the Art of Helene Schjerfbeck in Helsinki


 Finland:  cold dark forests and reindeer.

Abstract music ascends from sea foam.

Dream works of glass and stone designed by

ripples of North wind that inspire,

absent sentiment.  Colors washed by

sun’s edges:  cool grey and sea-glass green.


Portraits :  the artist’s mother – focused

silent pose.  Without models to draw,

self-portraits record development,

influence of the region.  Her hand

draws the trees and their shadows at dusk.

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Bornholm, DK

Sunny and warm. At another Texas cafe drinking $ 9.00 beer and wine. Oh well. The wifi is free. Amazingly difficult to be productive on this trip.

The sea so calm, blue.
Sun intense and very hot.
Slow before sailing.

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Off Line

Hey hey from Riga, Latvia. Internet expensive on our Baltic cruise plus did I mention EXPENSIVE! At an Internet care with free wifi and great old time country music. I am keeping a journal and will blog about each stop later.

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History and Gardens

Stadshuset – the City Hall – site of the
Nobel (pronounced noble) banquet.
Then Sodermalm’s Millennium series.
Lisbeth my heroine : feisty and
strong like all Scandinavian women.

Tantolund gardens: tiny garden plots
of Roses – Dahlias and Goldenrod.
A few raised beds for the rabbits –
and maybe a few fairies –
Central Stockholm: too busy for that.

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Canals snd Cannons

Today a tour of a canal on a boat
followed by the history war in Sweden;
considerable considering the size
of the cannons relative to the size
of the underfed men.

Then some art: slow art that takes
time to make; so much time that
time is part of the art and the artist
uses time to rest and create and
the art is about time and not art.

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Changing of the Guard at the Swedish Royal Palace

A brass band on horseback….magical.  Last night was Friday and noisy:

A woman sang an aria.
Some girls walked arm in arm
and a young man shouted a name;
some church bells rang the hour.

At dawn a truck door rattled.
Heels clicked on the sidewalk
and a mother spoke to a child;
some church bells rang the hour.

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