Rosemary - Her Mighty Crocus - Emily Dickinson & Niña
Saturday, February 12, 2022
|Rosemary's Crocus & Senecio cineraria 12 February 2022|
When I wrote for publications I noticed a few shifts in
style. Sometimes you could not write in first person and you had to be
detached. Then you had to face editors who most of the time wanted you to
shorten what you had written.
All that is behind me, as my blog is my personal
publication. I am the publisher, editor (sometimes not a very good one) art
director and illustrator (as a photographer). I write about what I want and at
whatever length I might want.
|Rosemary and Niña 23 August 2020|
It was said that space in publications was limited and in
the internet it is infinite.
I could put one photograph here and if I were working with an
art director one of the three images would have been chosen.
But I want to write here of the process. When I spotted one
of Rosemary’s crocuses on the back lane today which was pleasantly sunny, so
Niño and I went for a walk, I had to find a reason to scan it as an excuse to
write about my Rosemary. To write about her saddens me but somehow I am
compelled to do it and I feel better after I press send on my blog.
The crocus, all by itself was lovely but to me it was a
lonely image. So I brought into the mix one of Rosemary’s gray plants, Senecio cineraria which seems to look at
its best all year. The scan with it looked pretty nice but I went for a third
scan that I knew I could place here as a horizontal image.
I could not finish here without putting a photograph of
Rosemary being accompanied by Niña.
The Mighty Crocus - Emily Dickinson
The feet of people walking home
With gayer sandals go-
The Crocus-till she rises
The Vassal of the snow-
The lips at Hallelujah
Long years of practise bore
Till bye and bye these Bargemen
Walked singing on the shore.
Pearls are the Diver’s farthings
Extorted from the sea-
Pinions-the Seraph’s wagon
Pedestrian once-as we-
Night is the morning’s Canvas
Death, but our rapt attention
My figures fail to tel me
How far the Village lies-
Whose peasants are the Angels-
Whose Cantons dot the skies-
My Classics veil their faces-
My faith that Dark adores-
Which from its solemn abbeys
Such resurrection pours.
Emily Dickinson, 1858–#7
More Emily Dickinson
A glee possesseth me
Twere Thanksgiving Day
A Slash of Blue – Emily Dickinson
Rosemary's Love for the Details of Small Plants & Hands
Friday, February 11, 2022
|Sorbaria sorbifolia 10 February 2022|
While I cannot be a spokeperson for other men I believe that
at my age of 79 I know about myself.
Until I met Rosemary my interest in gardening was next to
nill. As a little boy in Buenos Aires my parents cultivated a lovely garden. I
played toy soldiers in it but did appreciate all the different kinds of plum
trees we had. I did not like our huge fig tree because it was a tough one to
climb. It was my job to burn the fall leaves. My little turtle like to go into leaf piles...
|Rosemary 4 May 2019 & Hosta 'Liberty' - Kitsilano|
Once we moved to Mexico City in 1954 I went through an
explosives stage. With my friend David Harris we discovered that that potassium
chlorate (we bought kilos of it at a downtown drugstore called El Elefante) was
better than the nitrate and that if mixed with aluminum powder (sold at
tlapalerías (hardware) to mix with linseed oil to make paint) it made a
tremendous blast. We exploded tins full of this concoction under my mother’s
rose bushes. I was given a severe spanking with a Filipino chinela.
When Rosemary, after a couple of years of marriage, and I moved to a
little house we had a garden. My mother and Rosemary tended it. I was not in
the least interested but I did plant a Mexican Colorín tree (Erythrina americana) as I thought that
when one purchased a house one planted a tree for good luck and prosperity.
Once in Vancouver in 1975, we had a tiny garden in our
Burnaby townhouse. Rosemary grew restless with it and had us (I took orders
from her most of the time) move to Kerrisdale to our Athlone corner garden.
It was patently obvious that with that size of the garden we
could not afford a gardener. So we began to garden.
Because this man likes big things and those include big
plants I fell for large shade hostas.
From there I graduated to roses and ferns and by the
beginning of 1990 I was a full-fledged gardener who knew his Greek and Latin
But most important it was Rosemary’s love for small plants
that taught me to notice details. It was Rosemary who taught me to notice how
hands were placed in portraits and thanks to her I became very good at portrait
Now in this rainy Feb 10, 2022 day I noticed not far from
the door to my oficina the little Sorbaria sorbifolia and I knew I had to scan
it but in some way associate it with Rosemary’s love for lovely small plants.
This plant can get big but Rosemary was into the details and this scan does it
We dreamt together - we woke up together - Intimacies of a Marriage
Thursday, February 10, 2022
– Mario Benedetti
tiempo hace o deshace
Intimacy - Mario Benedetti
We dream together
we wake up together
time makes or unmakes
Some may wonder why there is a photograph of my foot that
I took in the first few days of February 2021. Read on.
|My foot February 2021|
The topic in question of this blog is all about the intimacies I
shared with my Rosemary during our almost 52 years together. She died December 9, 2020.
Since we were products of that last century, our early
intimacies in my mother’s house in Veracruz in 1967, in which I made sure our
adjoining rooms had well-oiled hinges, were what you would call groping in the
Soon after, even before we finally married on February 8
1968, Rosemary paraded her lovely body in our apartment in her “paños menores”. This was an expression coined by my Manila-born
Spanish grandmother that translates to “minor underthings”.
I have no idea how Rosemary, who lived her early years in
a very small Ontario town, New Dublin, became such a fabulous exhibitionist.
My Rosemary was hermetic about her past life. When we met
she was 23 years old and she had brought a group of Canadian students to Mexico
City for a program that was called Program for International Living. Because she graduated from Queen’s in 1966, my eldest daughter Ale has pointed out that
Rosemary probably had little experience or time for romance until she met this
|Rosemary's Queen's graduation photograph 1966|
My Rosemary was a cool lover (not too much – just right)
except for a memorable evening in Mexico City sometime in April of 1971. Our
Hilary was born on December 17, 1971 so counting back nine months I would
calculate she was conceived in the beginning or mid-April of that year. How do
Rosemary had gone to visit her mother and she might have
told her that we were having a rough time. Her mother, Marjorie, must have said to her, “Go back to Mexico City and make
sure you have another child.”
I went to pick up Rosemary at the Benito Juárez Airport
and she was wearing this tight orange-yellow print dress which I was familiar
with. But I did not recollect it being that short.
Since this is a blog that expresses finesse I can only
report that I was subjected to a most passionate assault on my body.
Whenever our daughters were in school Rosemary and I
sometimes indulged in that Mexican bulwark called the lazy, afternoon siesta.
Luckily no further children were born.
While Rosemary always had a lovely face and she was
moderately endowed with a lovely chest it was just looking at her legs (only my
mother had such nice legs and unlike Borges’s mother she never really nagged
me) that raised the temperature even in those cold Mexico City winter nights.
Because we had a live-in housekeeper, this meant that
Rosemary and I experienced quite a few weekends in lovely Mexican towns where we could imagine that we were not
yet married and groping was allowed.
Once in Vancouver, sometime in the mid 80s this man came
down with mumps. Our family doctor had
never had a full grown male come down with that malady. But he did tell me that
my child bearing days were over. That did not seem to affect my Rosemary much.
It was about then when we started to take tub baths together. Once we moved to
our Kerrisdale home which had a lovely tub, our tub baths increased in frequency.
They persisted in our Kitsilano home. The tub was smaller. Feet got in the way (nicely).
That brings me to the foot photograph illustrating this blog.
In all our years we always slept in the same bed. We read in the same bed, had
snacks in the same bed, breakfasted in the same bed. The only time I was really
banned from being on it was when Rosemary tutored in bed, Hilary and later our two
granddaughters Rebecca and Lauren.
Rosemary had a penchant for nice towels and nice sheets.
This is probably the reason why it is only now that I will probably snip in two
our Hudson’s Bay card. Our bed was always well made and those sheets were
pristine and were always changed on Mondays.
On those few really hot August evenings we both slept on
the bed with no covers and our paños menores were reduced to none. This was a
luxury we loved. Lucky for me, Rosemary wore lovely white or light blue silk
nighties. My choice for many years was the male nightgown. It does not have to
be removed, when necessary (unlike pyjama pants). So stuff happened with frequency until
Rosemary became sick halfway through 2020.
Anybody who has been patient enough to get to here will
now understand the presence of my foot.
Rosemary complained when I did not cut my toenails and I
would scratch her with my preliminary attempts at playing footsies in bed. I really do not
need to snip my toenails (socks last longer if you do), but I did so in honour
of her memory. I did cry even if it did not physically hurt.