Signed in your cursive hand,
Each letter a musical note
So soft and so lovely,
How befitting an ode.
But darling you’re black and white
And try as I might,
I can’t seem to get it right:
Blonde hair but how blonde?
Green eyes but what green?
5”8’ I can see in the mirror,
‘Kinda short for a fella,’ I’d say
If I didn’t already know ya;
We’d stand shoulder to shoulder, but
For you I’d make an exception
As sung by Leonard Cohen.
And to be perfectly practical,
I don’t have to stand on your books
To kiss you though that’d be cute—
Catch me if I fall, though maybe I would fall
Just to fall into you.
Then we’d both be on the floor,
I’d land on your chest,
Crease that three-piece suit,
Tousle your hair, loosen that tie,
Tease till finally you pin me down,
Messed-up hair falling in your eyes
Pale gold and baby emerald, diamond-bright.
Blonde but how blonde?
A darkish blonde I imagine, the prettiest kind Save for Marilyn’s.
Green but what green?
The clear bright green of a river at the height of summer I imagine, the kind doomed Lovers would like if I’m Wright.
You’d make a dashing actor Love,
Actually they cast those to play you and your characters:
Leo and Tom and Brad and Matt,
Million dollar men, young and beautiful,
Blessed with beauty and rage.
Hollywood’s love bloomed late,
Poor fate, you thought
Broke and broken, maybe long forgotten
—Never more false! Love,
You’re alive again, risen from the debt
They owe to you.
Your name, your books,
You’re Lazarus wearing Adonis’ face;
Boy, the shows and movies they make
You have to see to believe.
Your timeless quintet and more,
In jackets of turquoise I adore,
Crazy in love, j’adore
F. Scott Fitzgerald in elegant font,
Honestly I’ve never been so fond—
Oh! Tender was
Your heart till it fell apart,
Broken instrument I fancy
Mending into art!
Still art thou black and white,
Long ago departed from life.
Love thee true I do
Yet be thy wife
I never could—
All I can do is write.
“Tell me that you want those kind of things/That money just can’t buy/I don’t care too much for money/For money can’t buy me love”: these are the words of wisdom sang by Paul McCartney on The Beatles’ 1964 hit “Can’t Buy Me Love” which he wrote with John Lennon. They send me soul-searching every time I hear it, and I hear it a lot because A Hard Day’s Night is one of my favourite albums. Continue reading
A mood board inspired by Shakespeare’s tragic heroine Ophelia (Hamlet). Her madness-led demise by drowning was deemed one of the Bard’s most breathtaking death announcements and, with the aid of this ethereal depiction on canvas by Victorian painter Sir John Everett Millais, her death lives to this day, immortalised by Romantics then and now.
There is a willow grows aslant a brook,
That shows his hoar leaves in the glassy stream;
There with fantastic garlands did she come
Of crow-flowers, nettles, daisies, and long purples
That liberal shepherds give a grosser name,
But our cold maids do dead men’s fingers call them:
There, on the pendent boughs her coronet weeds
Clambering to hang, an envious sliver broke;
When down her weedy trophies and herself
Fell in the weeping brook. Her clothes spread wide;
And, mermaid-like, awhile they bore her up:
Which time she chanted snatches of old tunes;
As one incapable of her own distress,
Or like a creature native and indued
Unto that element: but long it could not be
Till that her garments, heavy with their drink,
Pull’d the poor wretch from her melodious lay
To muddy death.
Decided to celebrate my favourite writer’s big day with a hand-drawn portrait. Celebrate with me by reading my love letter to him, or my musings on how John Keats’ Romantic poetry impacted his prose style. And don’t forget to have some gin & tonic!
Coloured pencil on pastel paper. More art can be found on my Instagram @artbybettyboo.
The most gorgeous little boy came into my workplace today. I was talking to his mother when a blur of blonde swished past her hips; my view was blocked at first by the high counter behind which I stood, but when I brought the catalogue of Christening cakes to her table later, I couldn’t help but take a good look at what I knew would be a child cherubic enough to send Raphael into a frenzy of Sistine proportions.
And he was: his perfectly round little head, platinum under the sun just then, was now strawberry blonde verging on faux ginger as he sat where the light did not reach. Add to that a chubby buttermilk face that was freckle-free and spotless, fresh and soft the way all baby skin are, and add also his impossibly light, fairy-like golden lashes and you almost have the whole picture. Almost; but oh his eyes! Continue reading
Architects design buildings, which are then built and maintained by builders, plumbers, and electricians. These buildings provide necessary living and working spaces for residents and professionals who, in turn, contribute to their society and economy. Politicians govern, lawyers defend, doctors save lives, businesses of all shapes and sizes provide essential goods and services. Scientists, physicists, engineers, and astronomers brought humanity to the moon. The world as we know it will not cease to exist without art and its practitioners but without moonage daydreamers, boy wizards, star-crossed lovers and those whose passion or profession it is to observe, think, analyse, and create, Earth is merely that which orbits the Sun, a celestial body where the passage of time is marked by births, deaths, and unexamined lives.
So here’s to poems about nature and beauty, songs about love, books that changed the world, and paintings that bewitch with their illusions of light and movement; here’s to films that enchant and inspire, to great teachers and their scholars, to thinkers, poets, writers, artists, composers, musicians, directors—to anyone who immortalised their human experience in art form.
Le français est beau: French is beautiful. This subjective statement is almost an universally accepted truth in a world where revelation that something (the stylish bag you bought in Paris) or someone (that cute guy over there) is French is guaranteed to be met with an ‘ooh’ and a knowing smirk.
Oh, yes, indeed! How Frenchy, how chic, how cultured and sophisticated the French thing/person is! This is, of course, due to the enormous amount of cultural capital attached to words like ‘French’, ‘France’, ‘Paris’, or ‘Parisian’ as a result of the country’s longstanding influence on culture, art, and design in every form, from priceless paintings in the Louvre to how luxury cosmetic products are packaged and advertised. Continue reading