Paul F. Lenzi (July 5, 2016)
written to accompany Coal Miner’s Canary
by Stevenson/Leach Studios (1988) Our Poetry Corner
And God made two great lights, the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night…and God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good. (The Book of Genesis 1:16-18, KJV).
Adam and Eve
Charles Marchant Stevenson paints his boyhood mentor Father Abbott as an angelic presence, arms outstretched in blessing, healing light radiating from his palms.
Apotheosis of the Working Man
In Apotheosis of the Working Man, a halo surrounds the Risen Christ, who during His life was the carpenter Jesus of Nazareth. Sacred geometry also halos the priest, a worker in the fields of the Lord. The Priest, eyes closed and mouth open, still overcome by transcendant bliss from recent presence of the Dove of the Holy Spirit, as yet unaware of spattered traces of the Dove’s passage on his jacket.
The Citadel by Moonlight
Charles Marchant Stevenson views the mid-19th century Great Mosque of Mehmet Ali Pasha through an exquisite grillework window within the Citadel, a medieval Islamic fortification in Cairo. The Mosque was built within the walls of the Citadel which might be the reason the Mosque itself is popularly known as The Citadel (al-qal’a).
Surah 24:35 of the Holy Qur’an says, Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth, and likens the light of Allah to the light of a lamp. The simple terracotta oil lamp at the window is our reminder.
Through the grillework, the domes of the Mosque of Muhammad Ali glow under the light of a full moon, each dome, symbolic of the dome of heaven.
Mendocino Angels at Sunset
A reminder to look for the angels in Mendocino skies. Models: Shanti Balsé and Matt Leach.
Dancer on Heartbeat
Wrapped in a glowing golden heart, a young woman dreams of angelic protection. Shanti Balsé and Matt Leach are the models.
Phaeton, the Shining One, child of the Sun God, takes a wild ride on his father’s fiery chariot and plummets toward earth.
The Seer: Portrait of Antonia Lamb
Aunt Betty Goes to Heaven
Ascent of the Soul: Portrait of Irma Gillespie
Stevenson describes the subject: a woman receiving roses from her inner being.
A singing phoenix rises from the glowing shadow of a woman clothed in flame, in an affirmation of hope and rebirth.
Warrior Woman: Tomo-e Gozen
The medieval Japanese epic, The Tale of the Heike, describes Tomo-e Gozen as especially beautiful, with long hair, and charming features … a warrior worth a thousand, ready to confront a demon or a god, mounted or on foot. She handled unbroken horses with superb skill; she rode unscathed down perilous descents. Whenever a battle was imminent, Yoshinaka sent her out as his first captain…and she performed more deeds of valor than any of his other warriors. – Helen McCullough, translator. She rides toward battle carrying the naginata, a pole weapon effective in cavalry battles.
Stevenson, a Virgo, considered Vestal his signature work. His muse, Jean Spetrino, is portrayed as a Vestal, one of the virgin priestesses of Vesta, Goddess of the Hearth. The Vestals’ task was to tend the holy fire to which all came for fire to light the hearths in their own homes. Bringing his community together in his home, through his art, and as a patron of the arts of others, Stevenson saw himself as attendant on the holy fire.