The Explanation
(for those who require one)

And, of course, that is what all of this is -- all of this: the one song, ever changing, ever reincarnated, that speaks somehow from and to and for that which is ineffable within us and without us, that is both prayer and deliverance, folly and wisdom, that inspires us to dance or smile or simply to go on, senselessly, incomprehensibly, beatifically, in the face of mortality and the truth that our lives are more ill-writ, ill-rhymed and fleeting than any song, except perhaps those songs -- that song, endlesly reincarnated -- born of that truth, be it the moon and June of that truth, or the wordless blue moan, or the rotgut or the elegant poetry of it. That nameless black-hulled ship of Ulysses, that long black train, that Terraplane, that mystery train, that Rocket '88', that Buick 6 -- same journey, same miracle, same end and endlessness."
-- Nick Tosches, Where Dead Voices Gather

Norman Rockwell Saved from Drowning #14


Man Charting War Maneuvers (1944)

8 comments :

Tempest said...

This picture is all wrong.

The cats would be trying to hop on the map in his lap or under the newspapers scraping (HEY!!!"BOTHOF YOU...!")

Don't ask me how I know.

Chris Rywalt said...

Note the reason he's charting war maneuvers: He's got three sons in the war.

There's a show of Rockwells from the collections of George Lucas and Steven Spielberg coming up at the Smithsonian in July, 2010. I hear Rockwell's originals aren't as good as the reproductions but I'm looking forward to seeing for myself.

MichaelRyerson said...

With three sons in the military you can bet he was following the news every single day. My grandparents (mother's side) had three blue stars in their window and my grandfather had a globe on the dining room table.

Brooks said...

Even the cats have joined in the war effort by not molesting the maps.

He looks more armchair general than concerned parent. The big pictures of Mac and Ike. The Clausewitz style self drawn tactical map. The stogie.

Christopher said...

I thought that was a foto there for a second

twister said...

I'm put in mind of Sandburg's, Buttons

BUTTONS

I HAVE been watching the war map slammed up for
advertising in front of the newspaper office.
Buttons--red and yellow buttons--blue and black buttons--
are shoved back and forth across the map.

A laughing young man, sunny with freckles,
Climbs a ladder, yells a joke to somebody in the crowd,
And then fixes a yellow button one inch west
And follows the yellow button with a black button one
inch west.

(Ten thousand men and boys twist on their bodies in
a red soak along a river edge,
Gasping of wounds, calling for water, some rattling
death in their throats.)
Who would guess what it cost to move two buttons one
inch on the war map here in front of the newspaper
office where the freckle-faced young man is laughing
to us?

Mac said...

"Note the reason...?"
I don't think Norm's "subtleties" ever got by anyone.

Chris Rywalt said...

I wasn't mentioning it for you, Mac. But plenty of people these days -- maybe not so many who read this blog -- don't know about service flags. Also, not everyone in the world is American and will get what's going on in this distinctly American painting.