They told me, Heraclitus, they told me you were dead,
They brought me bitter news to hear and bitter tears to shed.
I wept, as I remembered, how often you and I
Had tired the sun with talking and sent him down the sky

And now that thou art lying, my dear old Carian guest,
A handful of grey ashes, long, long ago at rest,
Still are thy pleasant voices, thy nightingales, awake;
For Death, he taketh all away, but them he cannot take

William Johnson Cory, Ionica (1891).
I believe this is one of the most beautiful poems I have ever read…the first line has been resounding in my head for weeks now…it is the only poem W.J.Cory ever wrote and it is marvellous in it’s brevity and telling emotion…
What a cry for a friend long gone, and the mourning of long evenings of talk and companionship…but all is not lost, his voice might be stilled but his poems “The Nightingales” will live on forever…
How can we not identify with this moving tribute to a dead friend!
The poem is a translation of a third century epigram and although there are other translations, this one is by far the best…the cry “they told me, they told me” resounds in the air with it’s agony…
On a personal note… a friend popped by recently and enquiring about a mutual friend was told by me that she had died months before…“Oh no” she cried, her long wail again bringing the death of Heraclitus to mind…centuries later, we still mourn in the same way..
I mulled over these incredible phrases for many best to interpret these words in a winter painting?
I decided not to attempt it right now…I have something else in mind, but I could not resist adding the verse to this painting, because all the way through creating it, I heard “they told me, they told me” ringing in my ears

Actually it’s not too far a stretch…the painting depicts a country cottage at sundown on a blustery winter evening…could not the two friends have sat by that very same fireside?

Watercolour on Arches Not Paper…best viewed large..

I paint in many different styles and feature a myriad of subject matter, which I show as individual collections….
I am inspired by the world interpreting it in brilliant colours, often influenced by the writings of famous authors and poets..
© All rights reserved. All images contained on these pages are © copyright protected by Janis Zroback and any use of these images in any form without her written permission will be considered an infringement of these copyrights.

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  • © Janis Zroback
    © Janis Zroback12 months ago

    They told me, Heraclitus, they told me you were dead,
    They brought me bitter news to hear and bitter tears to shed.
    I wept, as I remembered, how often you and I
    Had tired the sun with talking and sent him down the sky

    To learn more about this painting and the story behind it, click description above…

  • – © Janis Zroback

  • erichbiemer
    erichbiemer12 months ago

    Love it…

  • Thank you so much Erich…glad you like it…

    – © Janis Zroback

  • Lynn Gedeon
    Lynn Gedeon12 months ago

  • lorilee
    lorilee12 months ago


  • Thank you so much Lorilee…

    – © Janis Zroback

  • © Kira Bodensted
    © Kira Bodensted12 months ago

    01-31-14 Congratulations!
    Your outstanding work has been featured in ART UNIVERSE

  • Thank you so much Kira…

    – © Janis Zroback

  • WhiteDove Studio kj gordon
    WhiteDove Stud...12 months ago

    Well done Janis….you’ve captured tree mood…I’m putting on a sweater….

  • Thank you so much KJ…

    – © Janis Zroback

  • Jennifer Rhoades
    Jennifer Rhoades12 months ago

    Such beautiful bleakness. Your work always make me think of Thomas Hardy novels!

  • A lot of my work has been inspired by Thomas Hardy…in fact I have a whole collection of Hardy paintings…thank you so much…I’m really happy you like it…

    – © Janis Zroback

  • Cindy Schnackel
    Cindy Schnackel12 months ago

    Beautiful poem and painting.

  • Thank you so much Cindy…glad you like it…

    – © Janis Zroback

  • Bunny Clarke
    Bunny Clarke12 months ago

    This is stunning Janis. Superbly done.

  • Thank you so much Bunny…lovely of you to say so…

    – © Janis Zroback

  • TeresaB
    TeresaB12 months ago

    January 31, 2014

    Beautiful work!

  • Thank you so I much….I really appreciate it…

    – © Janis Zroback

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