Continuing on the theme of surprises , it is surprising what gems of loveliness can be found, tucked away, in the gloom
of the back rooms of our lives.
Inspired by a friend’s gift of plums from her backyard tree,
I was fossicking in the attic,
in search of my books on JAM , plum jam, when my eyes lit upon the long-forgotten face of Sister Wendy Beckett,
contemplative nun, writer, broadcaster and art lover, who recently appeared on Desert Island Discs, talking of her life, her love of Schubert’s Serenade , and confessing to the sin of being nasty to her little sister 😦
I was thrilled to see her again and to reconnect with her meditations on peace, and to realise how greatly she influenced my understanding of art, in the days before online art galleries and Wiki and blogging. What a remarkable person, I heard myself saying, communicating, as she does, so clearly, from the silence and physical confines of her world. …
not unlike this poem, of which Sister Wendy, defender of Classics and Latin, would surely approve, which my daughter wrote for me, in the solitude of her nights in Far North Queensland
To a Peony
(in which my daughter remembers the day, when she was extremely sad, and her mother gave her a sweet-scented peony from the garden )
Dark leaves, put forth thy anniversary.
Honey may burn; thy nectar rises up
like sugar syrup in a warmer cup,
ribbons the water. And say how can it be,
thou growest so magenta, when the hew
of thy first stock was white? Unless it was
among the hedgehogs and the heucheras
the lost god stopped and wept his ancient dew.
Colours stand faster in the dimming air;
so in the long grey drizzling afternoon
of dying hope, was thy expressive bloom
placed by a gentle hand into my care;
I see it still, in my mind, in the gloom
unfolding endless petals in my empty room.
*td* (first draft)