|left - Rosa 'St.Swithun' & Rosa 'Sombreul' 19 August 2022|
Below is a roundabout explanation why this blog is illustrated by two roses, Rosa ‘St.Swithun (the slightly pink one) and Rosa ‘Sombreul’. Every time I see a new bloom with my roses I think first of Rosemary and what she would say if I pointed it out to her. Then I repeat (sometimes aloud), “Rosamaría” which is so much sweeter in my native Spanish than in English.
Another reason for these roses here (St. Swithun has an exquisite fragrance of myrrh that Rosamaría adored) is that on August 31st, when I will be 80, I will have memory of those past birthdays in Buenos Aires that more often than not were rained on because of the famous “tormenta de Santa Rosa de Lima”. The 30th of August is St. Rose of Lima’s feast day and in my Buenos Aires this day was synonymous with a storm.
It is not an easy thing to be a widower after having been with my Rosemary for 52 years. Besides my grief and melancholy there is that sense of guilt that I might not have been as good to her as she deserved. There is that guilt that I may not have asked her how she felt about this or that. There is this guilt that I should have known when it took her 50 years that she did not like my special cucumber sandwiches. There is this guilt in discovering almost too late that she shared with me an interest in the arts.
And there is this guilt that I never connected her name Rosamaría to either the lore of the Virgin Mary or of my grandmother saying her Rosary. It is very difficult to remove from one’s system a thorough Roman Catholic education. In the end, before her last breath she looked at me and we both knew we would never see each other again.
But there is one sense of guilt of which I can be relieved. And this is all about the origin of her name thanks to Google.
Rosemary is a girl's name from the Latin Rosmarinus, meaning "dew of the sea." Rosemary is a combination of the names Rose and Mary in English and shares its name with the fragrant herb Rosmarinus officinalis, the emblem of remembrance.
Jorge Luís Borges (my favourite writer/poet) was often accused of not having a more active relation to women as did Julio Cortázar. The poem below is ample proof that he was a romantic.
EL ENAMORADO – Jorge Luís Borges
Lunas, marfiles, instrumentos, rosas,
lámparas y la línea de Durero,
las nueve cifras y el cambiante cero,
debo fingir que existen esas cosas.
Debo fingir que en el pasado fueron
Persépolis y Roma y que una arena
sutil midió la suerte de la almena
que los siglos de hierro deshicieron.
Debo fingir las armas y la pira
de la epopeya y los pesados mares
que roen de la tierra los pilares.
Debo fingir que hay otros. Es mentira.
Sólo tú eres. Tú, mi desventura
y mi ventura, inagotable y pura.
The Lover – Jorge Luís Borges
Moons, ivories, instruments, roses,
lamps and the line of Dürer,
the nine figures and the variable zero,
I shall pretend that these things exist.
I shall pretend that in the past they were
Persepolis and Rome and that fine
sand measured the fate of the crenel
that the centuries of iron undid.
I shall pretend the arms and the pyre
of the epic and the heavy seas
that gnaw from the pillars of the Earth.
I shall pretend there are others. It’s a lie.
Only you are. You, my misfortune
and my fortune, inexhaustible and pure.