The photographs of N.P. Thompson

not a blossom, not a bee

not a blossom, not a bee


I would tell you about the spring if I thought it might persuade you even now to return, but every bud and bird would only afflict you and make you sad where you are, so not one word of the robins, and not one word of the bloom, lest it make the city darker, and your own home more dear.

But nothing forgets you, Emily, not a blossom, not a bee; for in the merriest flower there is a pensive air, and in the bonniest bee a sorrow—they know that you are gone, they know how well you loved them, and in their little faces is sadness, and in their mild eyes, tears. But another spring, dear friend, you must and shall be here, and nobody can take you away, for I will hide you and keep you—and who would think of taking you if I hold you tight in my arms?

—ED to Emily Fowler (Ford)

Spring 1854



“When I heard her sing I just…it broke me up. I started to weep because I realized that until I could do with what I had what she was doing with what she had, that I wasn’t a singer yet…

…this woman made it possible for me to have faith in the fact that I am a poet and I did not have to sing standards in order to be a Jazz singer. I could find a way of putting my own perception into musical terms.

…it might have taken me longer to get to that place of knowing my own voice had I not had the experience of listening and knowing that there was somebody around like Abbey Lincoln.”

— Jeanne Lee, from a July 1993 interview published in Cadence, April 1997.



“Yet though these people are simple-minded, childishly impetuous, and even screwy, they do not lack for a crazy sort of imagination, an originality in shuffling and brandishing platitudes. They have comic-strip values and mess up large chunks of their lives, but they pursue their touchingly foolish dreams with a vivacity and dedication bordering on the heroic. Their energy is inspiring, their directness disarming, and their follies not all that different from those of sophisticated people. In the end, they are a strangely moving lot, whose very ludicrousness wrings your heart. You laugh and cry simultaneously, which makes rainbows in your eyes.”

— John Simon, writing about Melvin and Howard, June 12, 1981


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