Kevin Francis Gray

Extraordinarily evocative and moving sculptures by artist Kevin Francis Gray:

Irish sculptor Kevin Francis Gray works primarily with bronze and marble to create idealized figures draped with fabric in the style of Neoclassical or Baroque figurative sculptures. Though, unlike gods or royalty that one might expect to see rendered in such incredible detail, Gray instead creates anonymous depictions of regular individuals he encounters near his studio in London, often people struggling with addiction or other difficult, real-world issues.

See more at This Is Colossal and the artist's website.

Night Thoughts

I cannot sleep. The long, long

Night is full of bitterness. 

I sit alone in my room, 

Beside a smoky lamp. 

I rub my heavy eyelids

And idly turn the pages

Of my book. Again and again

I trim my brush and stir the ink. 

The hours go by. The moon comes 

In the open window, pale

And bright like new money.

At last I fall asleep and 

I dream of the days on the

River at Tsa-feng, and the

Friends of my youth in Yen Chao. 

Young and happy we ran

Over the beautiful hills.

And now the years have gone by, 

And I have never gone back. 

"Night Thoughts" - Lu Yu, transl. by Kenneth Rexroth

Animal Morality

The crux of this issue has as much to do with humans as it does with animals. When humans act morally, what is it we are doing? Traditionally, the philosopher’s answer has been an intellectualist one: acting morally requires the ability to think about what we are doing, to evaluate our reasons in the light of moral principles. But there is another tradition, associated with the philosopher David Hume and developed later by Charles Darwin, that understands morality as a far more basic part of our nature — a part of us that is as much animal as it is intellectual. On this ‘sentimentalist’ account of morality, our natural sentiments — the empathy and sympathy we have for those around us — are basic components of our biological nature. Our morality is rooted in our biology rather than our intellect.

From The Kindness of Beasts by Mark Rowlands.

To Arielle and the Moon

The night reduced to a siren, a sigh:

Beautiful boy on the treadmill

Glimpsed sweating through sweating glass—

My new moon.

Sylvia’s moon: a smiling skull

Snagged in witchy branches; fossil

Brushed free of blackest earth.

My last moon: an orange ball at rest, for an instant,

On the grey lake.

Wish list: dining set and dresser,

Boombox, thin black tie, boy-

Friend à la Madonna’s “True Blue”

La la la la la la la

Your moon (tonight): a clouded X-ray.

I stand at a corner and stare up,

Both of us astonished

By its own secret light.

 

"To Arielle and the Moon" - David Trinidad

 

Aubade

I work all day, and get half-drunk at night.   

Waking at four to soundless dark, I stare.   

In time the curtain-edges will grow light.   

Till then I see what’s really always there:   

Unresting death, a whole day nearer now,   

Making all thought impossible but how   

And where and when I shall myself die.   

Arid interrogation: yet the dread

Of dying, and being dead,

Flashes afresh to hold and horrify.

 

The mind blanks at the glare. Not in remorse   

—The good not done, the love not given, time   

Torn off unused—nor wretchedly because   

An only life can take so long to climb

Clear of its wrong beginnings, and may never;   

But at the total emptiness for ever,

The sure extinction that we travel to

And shall be lost in always. Not to be here,   

Not to be anywhere,

And soon; nothing more terrible, nothing more true.

 

This is a special way of being afraid

No trick dispels. Religion used to try,

That vast moth-eaten musical brocade

Created to pretend we never die,

And specious stuff that says No rational being

Can fear a thing it will not feel, not seeing

That this is what we fear—no sight, no sound,   

No touch or taste or smell, nothing to think with,   

Nothing to love or link with,

The anaesthetic from which none come round.

 

And so it stays just on the edge of vision,   

A small unfocused blur, a standing chill   

That slows each impulse down to indecision.   

Most things may never happen: this one will,   

And realisation of it rages out

In furnace-fear when we are caught without   

People or drink. Courage is no good:

It means not scaring others. Being brave   

Lets no one off the grave.

Death is no different whined at than withstood.

 

Slowly light strengthens, and the room takes shape.   

It stands plain as a wardrobe, what we know,   

Have always known, know that we can’t escape,   

Yet can’t accept. One side will have to go.

Meanwhile telephones crouch, getting ready to ring   

In locked-up offices, and all the uncaring

Intricate rented world begins to rouse.

The sky is white as clay, with no sun.

Work has to be done.

Postmen like doctors go from house to house.

 

"Aubade" - Philip Larken