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Happy October 31! with Skeletons and John Keats

“Skeleton Greeting” by Lawrence Russ

Just last week, I passed by a place, a remarkable display, that became the subject for a portfolio that you can see now on my photo website:  “The Mansion at 13 Skeleton Drive.”

Certainly timely, and, yes, a little lighter than some other work of mine, though this, too, takes a darker turn in its middle, but what the heck?  Whose website, whose life is it anyway?  And my wonder-wife Marion and good friend Rich, provoked me to it, so let them share the blame if you think that some blame is in order.  But then you may have to reckon with The Giant!

“The Giant” by Lawrence Russ

As the skeletons are intensely aware, this is indeed Halloween, but it’s also the anniversary of the birth of one of the sweetest-souled and precocious writers in literature:  John Keats.  Among many more profound phrases, he wrote in a letter one of the most endearing ever, when he wondered what hope he could have of any woman falling in love with “Mr. John Keats five feet tall.”

In another of his letters, Keats also wrote, unforgettably and preciously to me, ““I am certain of nothing but the holiness of the Heart’s affections and the truth of the Imagination.”

John Keats

And the skeletons can surely relate to the Halloween-worthy spookiness of some of his poems like “The Belle Dame Sans Merci” and “Lamia.”

The skeletons are close to some largely-unidentifiable essence of identity – or non-identity.  The skeletons let the wind pass through them.  As you may have gathered by now, I doubt that trying to explain everything, to explain every mysterious felt connection, is necessary or, for the most part, helpful to the life within us.  I offer without commentary — and I do think that the skeletons will understand it — this poem of mine, “The Strength of Trees”:

Too many times, I’ve put my trust

in things the wind blew down.


In truth, the adamant trunk is frail.

It’s the emptiness among the boughs,


by letting the furious storm

pass through,


that saves the tree from breaking.

“Peace” by Lawrence Russ

Lawrence Russ View All

Was the Alfred P. Sloan Scholar for the Humanities at the University of Michigan. Obtained a Master of the Fine Arts degree from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, where I was selected as a Writing Fellow in Poetry by the Program faculty. Have published poems, essays and reviews in many magazines, anthologies, reference works, and other publications, including The Nation, The Iowa Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, Parabola, OMNI, and the exhibition catalogue for Art at the Edge of the Law at the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum. Received a law degree from the University of Michigan, and have changed the law and created educational programs in the fields of arts law, historic preservation law, and public construction and contracting law in the State of Connecticut. My photographs have appeared in international, national, regional and state juried exhibitions, and have been selected for awards including Honorable Mentions in the Architecture, Fine Art (series), Nature (series), Open Theme (series), Portrait, and Seascape categories from the international Fine Art Photography Awards, and an Honorable Mention in the Fine Art-Other category from the International Photography Awards. Photographs of mine have been selected for exhibition or publications by or in the 2019 International Juried Exhibition of the Center for Photographic Art (Carmel, CA), 2019 International Competition of The Photo Review, the 2019 Open Exhibition of the Center for Fine Art Photography in Fort Collins CO, F-Stop Magazine, Shadow & Light Magazine, Black Box Gallery in Portland OR, Praxis Gallery in Minneapolis MN, the Darkroom Gallery in VT, PhotoPlace Gallery in VT, A Smith Gallery in TX, the New Britain Museum of American Art, and many other journals and venues. My work has also been selected for inclusion in the Flatfile Program of Artspace New Haven (CT). My photography website is at .

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