Ixchel - The Goddess Of Love
Saturday, March 24, 2012
|Mayan temple to Ixchel, Isla Mujeres |
Mujer, mujer divina
tienes el veneno que fascina en tu mirar.
tienes vibración de sonatina pasional,
tienes el perfume de un naranjo en flor,
el altivo porte de una majestad.
sabes de los filtros que hay en el amor,
tienes el hechizo de la liviandad,
la divina magia de un atardecer,
y la maravilla de la inspiración.
tienes en el ritmo de tu ser,
todo el palpitar de una canción.
eres la razón de mi existir, mujer
Woman, divine woman
you have that poison that fascinates in your gaze
a woman of alabaster
you of a the dazzle of a passionate sonata
you of the perfume of an orange blossom
you know of the potions of love
you can cast a spell with your levity and
possess that divine majesty of a sunset,
and a marvel of inspiration.
you have in you a rhythm of your being
all the heart beat of a song.
you are the reason for my existence, woman.
Pedro Vargas sings Mujer
Isla Mujeres is on the Caribbean Sea, near the Yucatán Peninsula, south east of Mexico. It is part of the State of Quintana Roo. It is 13 kms from Cancún.
The island was discovered by the Spanish in an expedition under the command of Francisco Hernádez de Córdoba in 1517. During prehispanic times the island had been dedicated to the Mayan Ixchel, goddess of the moon, love and fertility. Her followers gave her offerings shaped in the feminine form. When the Spaniards found these figurines they gave the island its name.
Sometime before I left for and assignment to Cancún and nearby Isla Mujeres in the late 90s I was in “negotiation” to photograph a woman undraped. Her name was B. She resembled a cat, a mysterious Egyptian cat. It is strange how my own cat, Plata can be silver in some light, gray in another and almost all white when she jumps on my stomach in the middle of the night. B was the same. She changed with light and her expression could go from a Circe to a friendly girl-next-door. What was unwavering in its presence was her voluptuousness. B was willing to pose but my trip interfered with our plan session. I told her. I can remember to this day her email in which she wrote something like: “It is most appropriate that you, of all men, should be going to the Island of Women.”
In the middle 80s Vancouver Magazine
Editor Malcolm Parry had attempted (he thought it a joke) to besmirch my reputation as a photographer of women. He would introduce me as, “Alex, or Lenso as some of us call him, has the singular ability to make ugly women uglier and pretty women less so.” After a while a long string of portraits of beautiful women, taken by me, appeared in his publication and his remarks on my untalented ways with women stopped.
By the time I approached B I had a solid reputation which I have kept to this day. But at the encroaching old “viejo verde”, dirty old man in Spanish, age of 70 personal requests by women to photograph them as Eve-before-the-fall, have pretty well ceased as have my attempts to once-in-for-all enter the Vancouver Sun Run. I must find satisfaction in directing my students with their magical digital sensor-equipped cameras at Focal Point while feeling the frustration that “youth”, an undraped one, has passed me by!
It all leads me to vicariously enjoy the undraped fruits of my past and to find justification to place those pictures here (highly cropped and sanitized) and to find what many would consider irrelevant connections.
B moved to Toronto. Some months later she contacted me via email and told me that in her new business world stray pictures of her in the nude (I never did show or publish any) or even the mention that she might have posed to do so would undermine her future career. I voluntarily, but reluctantly removed the mention of her name in a blog that I wrote about her and even re-named the photos (the code behind the jpgs). I know that her blog is somewhere within the around 2333 blogs posted here. But even with my most efficient internal search engine I have lost her in the crowd.
In Isla Mujeres I really did not see many of them, the women for which the island was called. My friendly boutique hotel manager, was quietly gay and he took me to see the sights of the island. He was particulary keen to take me to the cemetery which was beautiful. The pictures here do not reveal the glory of the bright reds, blues and pinks that the tombs were painted with. The hotel was uncharateristically empty and as I watched the sun set from my lawn chair I contemplated the sheer pleasure of being able to photograph soon, Ixchel in the flesh back home in my studio
|Alex in Isla Mujeres|
German With My Horse
Friday, March 23, 2012
Charles of Austria or Habsburg (Ghent, February 24 1500 – Yuste Monastery, Spain, September 21,1558), was King of Spain as Charles I (1516-1556), the first to unify under his name the crown of Castile and Aragón, he was Holy Roman Emperor Charles V (1520-1558).
"Hablo latín con Dios, italiano con los músicos, español con las damas, francés en la corte, alemán con los lacayos e inglés con mis caballos."
I speak in Latin with God, Italian with musicians, Spanish with the ladies, French at court, German with commoners and English with my horses.
"Hablo el español con Dios, el italiano con las mujeres, el francés con los hombres y el alemán con mi caballo."
I speak in Spanish with God, Italian with women, French with men and German with my horse.
"Hablo en italiano con los embajadores; en francés, con las mujeres; en alemán con los soldados; en inglés con los caballos y en español con Dios."
I speak Italian with the ambassadors; in French with women; in German with soldiers, in English with horses and in Spanish with God.
"Uno debe hablar español con Dios, italiano con la amiga, francés con el amigo, alemán con los soldados, inglés con los patos, húngaro con los caballos y bohemio (checo) con el diablo.”
One must speak Spanish with God, Italian with a female friend, French with the male friend, German with soldiers, English with ducks, Hungarian with horses and Bohemian with the devil.
When I was a young boy, my grandmother would often quote the Spanish king universally known as Charles V (Holy Roman Emperor) even though he was also Charles I of Spain. Notice that in all versions of the many quotes attributed to Charles on his use of language that German and English are always short changed!
In many respects I sort of agree with him. Case in point is the English verb to taste. Rarely do we use that more melodious to savour. In Spanish the verb saborear
(from the noun sabor
) is used universally without any air of pretension of the English to savour. And yet it seems that sabor and particularly saborear rolls in one’s mouth and it instantly seems to open up the taste buds and saliva begins to flow. And consider the song composed by Mexican Álvaro Carrillo popularized by the Mexican Trio Los Panchos in the 50s. Would such a song ever happen except in the language, the favourite language of Charles V?
Sabor a Mí - Álvaro Carrillo
Tanto tiempo disfrutamos de este amor
nuestras almas se acercaron tanto así
que yo guardo tu sabor
pero tú llevas también, sabor a mí.
Si negaras mi presencia en tu vivir
bastaría con abrazarte y conversar
tanta vida yo te di
que por fuerza tienes ya, sabor a mí.
We enjoyed this love for long
our souls became so close that
I keep your taste
but you, too, carry within you the taste of me.
If you were to deny my presence in your life
I would only have to hug you and to converse with you
so much living I gave you
so by now you must have in you the taste of me.
Pasarán más de mil años, muchos más
yo no sé si tenga amor, la eternidad
pero allá tal como aquí,
en la boca llevarás, sabor a mí.
More than one thousand years shall pass, many more
I do not know if ther is love in eternity
but there, just like here
in your mouth you will have, the taste of me.
The above is but a preamble to attempt to explain my granddaughter Lauren’s sleepover tonight. I picked her up at her home and from there we went to Limelight Video
to pick up Parent Trap
(Hailey Mills, Maureen O’Hara & Brian Keith). Once we got home I told her I had a surprise. These were two books, $1.00 each rejects from the Vancouver Public Library bin at the 10th Avenue branch. One is the most fantastic Alphabeasts
by Canadian illustrator Wallace Edwards, the other Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs and Other Prehistoric Creatures
by John Malam & Steve Parker. I made sure to dedicate them to her so that her mother (as my wife cynically thinks) will not get rid of them as she has of other childhood books.
The film was perfect. Rosemary had not seen it. Lauren retired to bed to look at her books. This morning I served her breakfast in bed (well, the three of us all in bed) which consisted of soft boiled eggs, buttered cheese bread toast and orange juice. Rosemary had coffee I had tea. After breakfast I snapped these two b+w Fuji instant prints.
Friday and Saturday morning with Lauren has been a time of savouring. La he paladeado (which in Spanish means I have moved her around slowly in my palate, like good food). And it just shows you that thankfully I will never have to learn German as I will never be able to afford a horse.
The Importance Of Being Waterhouse
Thursday, March 22, 2012
As Rosemary and I watched the hilarious Arts Club Theatre production of Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest.
I was struck by the story's ancillary connection to my own life. The Importance of Being Earnest is about two friends, both with brothers, who suddenly are forced to kill them off while finding out that the two pairs of brothers, in reality is one.
My life may be as complex. Consider that I had a father who became, two, and the brother I never had was one of my father’s sons while his other son began to doubt who his real father really was.
My story begins when I was nine when my mother told me of my origins.
It seems that my grandfather Harry Waterhouse Hayward did not marry my grandmother Ellen Carter until they had moved from Manchester to Buenos Aires in 1901. They came with their firstborn, Harry. Subsequently they were married in Buenos Aires and had two more sons, my father George, Uncle Freddy and three daughters Inez, Dorothy and Lelia. My father was the second oldest son. The family tradition was that the firstborn was to have the middle name Waterhouse. Either because my Uncle Harry was indeed, by all accounts born out of wedlock, he was a bastard and could not appropriate Waterhouse, he never did, to his name or perhaps he simply did not care. So the name Waterhouse disappeared for a generation.
My mother told me that before George Hayward had married her, he had been previously married to an Argentine socialite, Yolanda Zapata Benitez from the province of Salta. It had been a wedding which had been presided by an archbishop. On their wedding night George was informed that she was pregnant by another man and that she had known that by marrying George he would be the gentleman that he was and would remain married to give the child his name. A boy was born and my mother told me his name was Enrique but that only I had the name Waterhouse.
When my father had registered me (the story is that he may have been too drunk to remember and when he did so almost a year had passed so legally I am a year younger) he had slipped the registrar some money under the table (a coima
in BA speak) to add Waterhouse. The man had protested that in Argentina nobody could have given names in any language but Spanish. I was named Jorge Alejandro. My father explained while passing the money, that indeed Waterhouse was my surname and that there should be a hyphen between it and Hayward. And so it was.
At this time my mother was always explaining that since my father was such a wonderful tango dancer that I would one day dance as divinely as he had. It seemed that when they went dancing in the dark and smoky tango joints of Leandro Alem, people would stop to watch my father George and my mother Filomena dance.
As far as I can remember I never saw my father swim but I have fond memories of my mother’s beautiful back stroke which she would execute with not one ripple on the water. One dance the other swam.
In 1954 my mother, grandmother and I moved to Mexico City and my father who had a drinking problem was abandoned.
When at 20 I was informed by the Argentine Embassy in Mexico City that I would have to serve in the Argentine military in order to obtain a passport I knew that this was the opportunity I had waited to return to Buenos Aires and look for my father.
|George Hayward, far right on Avenida Carabobo|
By bad luck I had won the draft lottery and instead of a one year service in the army I had won the dubious honor of two years in the navy. It took me a couple of months to find my father. Eight months later he died on the street (of circumstances which somehow I never asked). He was taken to a nearby hospital, Hospital Pirovano by a police sergeant. He was pronounced dead on arrival. Of my conversations with my father, pleasant ones they were, I have no recollection. I have no idea why my otherwise exceptional memory fails me in this which would be so important to me.
The phone rang in my office at the US Naval Advisory Group where I was the translator and aide to the Senior Naval Adviser. The man on the line was my uncle Leo Mahdjubian. He was not my real uncle but my grandmother Ellen had “adopted’ him into her pension which she had opened when Harry, my grandfather had died. Uncle Leo had instantly been made part of the Haywards.
Uncle Leo, who was blunt but funny, said, “ Che, your father George kicked the bucket yesterday. He was found by a policeman so you have to go to the police station to sign some documents."
When I went to the station I was shocked to learn that according to the policeman at the desk, the dead man’s son had already been there so it was impossible that I could be his son.
In circumstances that are also hazy in my memory I was called later by one calling himself Enrique Waterhouse who said he was my half brother and that he wanted to meet me.
Before my date with Enrique Waterhouse I had received a call from the police sergeant who had taken my father to hospital. Over a café cortado
the sergeant told me that he had been a friend of my father’s. He revealed to me that in my father’s pockets he had found a large sum of money. It was money that George had earned while working at a laundry. The money was to be used to bribe an army general who would have cut my conscription in the navy short and I would have been able to go home to Mexico sooner. The money was placed in my hand. He told me that had he not removed the money from my father’s pockets it world have disappeared at the hospital. The only other item was my father’s Cedula de Identidad
, the Argentine identity card that in those days was a compulsory document that one had to carry at all times. I tried to give part of the money to the sergeant who was instantly offended. I paid for the coffees and the sergeant smiled and shook my hand before he left.
When I met up with Enrique I was shocked to find a blond man with blue eyes who was the spitting image of my father. He spoke no English. He offered to help me pay for George’s funeral. I told him of the money found in his pockets and how it would pay for a modest funeral (Uncle Leo took charge of it). It was here where I decided that if my father had been a gentleman to give Enrique his name (why the Waterhouse, I thought) I had the obligation to keep my secret. But it was difficult for me to say "our father" when I spoke to Enrique, so we both in some silent arrangement called the man George.
Enrique took me to his home where I met up with two sons (a daughter and a third son had yet to be born) who were blond and had my father’s blue eyes.
Before I left for Mexico, Enrique who was a wealthy man, took me for lunch and gave me a crisp new $100 US bill to help me in my travels.
I returned to Buenos Aires in the mid 90s. My first cousin Inesita O’Reilly Kuker (the daughter of my oldest aunt Inez) who happened to be my godmother and was 20 years older than I was refused to answer any of my questions about Enrique saying it had been so long ago that she did not remember. But I did manage, over her cold objection, to bring Enrique over to meet her. The stay was curt and I kept looking at the pair, noticing how much they looked like each other. With my brown eyes everybody has told me I inherited all of my mother’s genes.
|Patricio, Alex & Enrique at La Biela |
The youngest of Enrique’s sons, Patricio told me that originally they had all been called Waterhouse Hayward but with the problems of having such a long name which in Argentina would also include the mother’s surname they had decided to shorten it to Waterhouse. Pato as he was affectionately called was the only one of the family who seemed to want to pump me about my father. I told him what I could while keeping my secret. Pato went to La Chacarita Cemetery in search of George’s grave. He returned and in a most disgusted way gave me a sermon as to why I had not paid for a plot that would remain in “perpetuidad
”. That I had been a poor conscript did not seem to satisfy him. He threw a bit of white marble at me and said, “I found this in Mrs. Raquel Gutierrez’s grave where George was once buried. Perhaps it may have touched one of his bones."
I asked Pato if he would take me to meet his grandmother, Yolanda. He seemed to be eager. His grandmother was kind, gracious and warm with me. She offered me an excellent glass of wine from Salta as well as some homemade empanadas salteñas
In another memory lapse of mine I remember only that she showed me the wedding certificate and then Enrique’s birth certificate. I noticed that there was a difference of some years between the wedding and Enrique’s birth.
I asked her to tell me about George. She told me that he had taught her to swim and that he had been an excellent swimmer. I asked if he had ever danced the tango with her. Her reply was astounding, “To my knowledge George did not dance.”
She told me another story. George would disappear on weekends so she thought he might have a "querida" somewhere. She hired a detective. After a month the detective told her, "You can be "tranquila". Your husband is faithful. On weekends he goes to el Tigre (a suburb of Buenos Aires by the Paraná River delta) and plays cards."
I don't drink. I have never gambled. I dance terribly and my swimming is, at best, efficient. Sometimes when I look at myself in the mirror I wonder who I am.
The Importance Of Being Earnest - The Flavour Of Champagne
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Más que los otros de su especie, Oscar Wilde fue un homo ludens. Jugó con el teatro; La importancia de llamarse Ernesto o, como quiere Alfonso Reyes, La importancia de ser severo, es la única comedia del mundo que tiene el sabor del champagne
More than others of his kind, Oscar Wilde was a homo Ludens. He played with theatre, with his Importance of Being Ernest or as Alfonso Reyes would want, The Importance of Being Severe. It is the only comedy/farce with the flavour of champagne.
The above quote by Jorge Luís Borges and, at best, my prosaic translation into English is but a warning to readers here that this review of the Arts Club production on opening night of Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest
today at the Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage is going to be an over the top rave and long. You may want to stop here.
We Argentines of a certain generation (mine) are great admirers of anything English, and in particular those of us (like me) who happen to be partly English. In fact we colonials are more English than the English. I have to proudly boast that I make excellent cucumber shandwiches (crustless) when I serve high tea in my rose garden in the summer.
I cannot remember, when I was 8 or 9, if I saw The Importance of Being Earnest
before or after I saw an amateur high school production of Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance
. There is a possibility that my first viewing of Wilde’s play would have been in Spanish. There has always been a problem in the translation of the play as earnest in Spanish only means Ernest the name. There is no play of words. And consider that one of the suburbs of Buenos Aires, Wilde (pronounced wheel-deh) is probably named after a doctor Juan Antonio Wilde but most in BA affirm that Wilde is named after the famous Englishman.
Wilde published The Happy Prince and Other Tales
in 1888. Jorge Luís Borges was born in 1899 and by the time he was 9 he was tinkering with writing in the style of Cervantes. He gave that up and opted for the translation of The Happy Prince (read to me by my father when I was 5 or 6) which was published in the Argentine newspaper El País.
Since the translation was signed Jorge Borges, everybody thought it to be Borges’s father. Before he died in 1986 Jorge Luis Borges wrote that The Happy Prince, The Nightingale and the Rose
and The Selfish Giant
are fairy stories not in the style of Grimm but more like Hans Christian Anderson with the "added melancholic irony that is such a peculiar attribute of Oscar Wilde."
Before I go into how my wife and Rosemary enjoyed ourselves with this terrific production I want to point out the importance of the look of the play. The set featured trunks and luggage and hidden, that all-important black bag with the double handles. The costumes were scrumptious and both Charlie Gallant (as Algernon Moncreiff) and Ryan Beil (as Jack Worthing) were appropriately dressed as dandies as Borges would write In Other Inquisitions 1937 - 1952
(Pan American Press) in the chapter About Oscar Wilde:
To mention Wilde’s name is to mention a dandy who was also a poet; it is to evoke the image of a gentleman dedicated to the paltry aim of startling people by his cravats and his metaphors. It is also to evoke the notion of art as a select or secret name.
|"Associate" dramaturg Malcolm Parry &|
Director David Mackay
Seeing the suits worn by Beil and Gallant (Nancy Bryan, costume designer) immediately made me think of our J.J. Lee and his book The Measure of a Man –The Story of a Father, A Son and a Suit.
In it Lee writes:
In 1882 Oscar Wilde tried his best to overthrow a tyrant whose reign would span the last half of the nineteenth century and eventually bleed the twentieth. It was not Nicholas I of Montenegro, nor was it Franz Joseph I of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Queen Victoria ruled from1937 to 1901, but Wilde’s goal was not to supplant her. No, Wilde wished to revolt against the dominance and singular plainness of men’s dark coats and their equally constrictive consort – pants.
So in spite of the wonderful look of the play (and my, oh my, the dresses worn by Amber Lewis as Gwendolyn Fairfax, Ella Simon as Cecily Cardew, and Allan Zinyk as Lady Bracknell), alas I must quibble here with the non appearance of what would have been Wilde’s choice, had he whispered into Bryant’s ears, “Satin knee breeches if you please!”
The Importance of Being Earnest is a play where for once I can affirm that the sound at the Stanley, the diction at the Stanley were superb (kudos to the actors for this) so that every delicious turn of Wildean phrase was there for my complete enjoyment and I laughed and laughed at David Mackay’s direction of what really was a food fight featuring sandwiches (of the cucumber and bread and butter kind) cake and muffins. I had forgotten that traditionally the crusty and overbearing Lady Bracknell is usually played by a man. I was reminded by an equally crusty but certainly not overbearing John MacLachlan Gray who asked me who was the man who played her. As it turned out it was Allan Zinyk who somehow softened up the part by channelling, effortlessly, Rosalind Russell’s Auntie Mame.
Luckily for Rosemary I was able to secure a children’s theatre cushion so that she could see over the tall man in front of her, John Gray’s son, Zachary.
All in all the evening was one of pleasure and laughter where every bit of humourous wit, ever so familiar, was confirmed by Christopher Dafoe, fils, who said to me after the show, “After Shakespeare, Wilde is the most often quoted in our language.”
|Wilde, Buenos Aires|
But I must return to Borges, via a train in England that took me to a haunt of Wilde himself.
In 1994 I stood on the platform at Crew Station, Chestershire. The rectangular digital clock read 12:18. The scene felt no different from the one of my childhood. As in Buenos Aires, I had to look to my right to see if the train was coming. The smell of iron rust on the tracks would have told me where I was, eyes closed. I could feel the comforting familiarity of the English train station. I was waiting for the 12:33, 225 Intercity, to transport me at over 200 kilometres per hour to Euston Station, London. This was exciting: riding an English train in England.
Looking out on the rapidly passing scenery, I saw green hills, interrupted here and there by English oaks. Under miniature clouds and a horizon so close I could almost touch it, sheep graze. Their backsides were sprayed with bright red or blue paint - a Turner on acid. By the time the train reached Watford, the scenery gradually turned urban. I could see dying vines on the old brick embankments. Could those be morning glory? Miss Tink, the childhood governess of Jorge Luis Borges, had to come from here. Perhaps it was she who made Borges a lifelong Anglophile. From her he had learned to read in English before Spanish. As an adult, Borges proclaimed that "English is the only language to be known. English literature contains and sums up all things."
At 14:20, five minutes early, my train arrived at a disappointingly '60s-modernized Euston Station. A black taxi deposited me and my luggage at the Cadogan Hotel on Sloane Street.
Oscar Wilde, while staying here, at his favourite Tower Room, was arrested in 1895 and taken to Reading Gaol. The poet Sir John Betjeman wrote:
"...Mr. Woilde, we've come for tew
Where felons and criminals dwell.
We must ask yew tew leave with us
For this is the Cadogan Hotel....."
Bronwen Marsden - Actor
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
My Mother's Red Shawl - El Rebozo Colorado
Bronwen Marsden - Actor
Me and my (Red) Face
I have been told I have thin skin. Blood capillaries close to the surface. Or something. Whether or not this is in fact true, the story does explain why I blush so easily. And, lordy, do I ever blush easily. All it takes is a hint of self-consciousness, or a faint whisper of embarrassment, and my ears turn to fire, my neck and cheeks fill with a lava-like substance and, if it's really bad, tears spring to my eyes. Suddenly, I find that my neck is holding up a tomato, not a head.
This has given me all kinds of grief. In early high school, it meant classmates could accuse me of having crushes on people I'd never once considered attractive, and have those accusations confirmed by my physiognomy. Nowadays, it leads people to believe I have rather Victorian sensibilities. Sometimes people like to make a party game out of it: "Who can make Bronwen blush first?"
It's an irritating and easily misinterpreted window to my heart.
For a long time, I didn't really know when I was blushing. Then, I became familiar with the sensation, but the awareness led to a deepening of the crimson. Now, though, I am starting to get a better handle on my reddening: I know when it's happening, I know what triggers it, and I have a method for restoring my natural colour a bit more quickly.
But I've begun to wonder: why aren't actors expected to flush on command? After all, "Can you cry on cue?" is almost the most-asked question by non-actors (second only to "How did you memorise all those lines?"). Crying at will isn't the most difficult part of acting by a long shot, but it is a neat trick, and most actors have a way of getting to it. So why not blushing? It's a physiological reaction, like crying. Strong emotion brings it up, like crying. It has certain triggers, like crying. Can it not, then, be accessed by the same sort of mechanism? Surely someone, somewhere, has worked out a way to do it. I think even I could, if I put a bit of effort into it.
As an actor, being able to display the inner workings of my mind and my emotions is prized. Where once I wished I could hide everything behind a smile, I now actively seek truthful expressions of my inner self. And, for me, that includes the reddening of my face.
But the question I have is, if I were to master this part of my physiology, would anyone even notice? Or would it be invisible on stage, and too red for HD cameras? Would it be prized by directors? Or despised by makeup artists?
Lauren Elizabeth Stewart
And All Is Dross That Is Not Helena
Monday, March 19, 2012
by Christopher Marlowe
Was this the face that launched a thousand ships
And burnt the topless 2 towers of Ilium?
Sweet Helen, make me immortal with a kiss.
Her lips suck forth my soul; see where it flies!—
Come, Helen, come, give me my soul again.
Here will I dwell, for Heaven is in these lips,
And all is dross that is not Helena
Technical Information: I used a Mamiya RB-67 Pro SD with a 90mm lens. Film was Fuji Instant. I took it with a 2x3 ft softbox at f-11.
Rooted They Grip Down & Begin To awaken
Sunday, March 18, 2012
The meaning of spring is not embedded in the word. That is not the case with the Spanish primavera
. It's origin is Latin with prima
being first and vera
for truth and real. That would make primavera not only our first season of the year but its true beginning. Which for me is rather nice as I look at my garden with all the snowdrops and the daffodils in bloom, surrounded by bare ground, that will not be bare for long. My roses all have buds except for some of the canes which in their browness reveal that they are dead. Cutting these canes to the ground and cutting the healthy ones, at least in half, will induce the rose to survival and new shoots, which will become healthy canes, will emerge. My roses like my cats cannot really fend for themselves if they are to survive. Every summer I read William Carlos Williams's poem on the ice cold plums
. In spring I always open to Spring and All.
Spring and All
By William Carlos Williams
By the road to the contagious hospital
under the surge of the blue
mottled clouds driven from the
northeast—a cold wind. Beyond, the
waste of broad, muddy fields
brown with dried weeds, standing and fallen
patches of standing water
the scattering of tall trees
All along the road the reddish
purplish, forked, upstanding, twiggy
stuff of bushes and small trees
with dead, brown leaves under them
Lifeless in appearance, sluggish
dazed spring approaches—
They enter the new world naked,
cold, uncertain of all
save that they enter. All about them
the cold, familiar wind—
Now the grass, tomorrow
the stiff curl of wildcarrot leaf
One by one objects are defined—
It quickens: clarity, outline of leaf
But now the stark dignity of
entrance—Still, the profound change
has come upon them: rooted they
grip down and begin to awaken