Monday, August 09, 2010


Now there are freesias by the window, blue-mauve and yellow
in an old white tea-pot we don't use. One flowerhead broke,
and then was poked into the spout, so that its arching spray
might make a joke of pouring. Out of lolling, thick-braided calyces
three-over-three, their petals open, lined with a little darkness of their own;
inside they're white with sunlight, just grey without, and  then below
another glow of yellow, a shadow there of green. And this is all to hold
what seem like embryos or emblems of themselves, elements,
self-coloured at their centres.

They are self-centred!  Such bright and mildly stubborn tones,
colour and textures wrong against the dull red wall, refusing to blend,
impose themselves with softness.  They'd never grow for us, they need
pampering under a gleaming moistened skin of glass or plastic;
they fray and droop, decay, but still demand to stay.  To be here
they pushed aside great rounds of blazing sunflowers in splendour, mounds
of tawny marigolds, Michaelmas daisies, purple asters, grinning broad and gay
in bucketfuls down in the market square, seasonable, eager to please and easy.
But lazy, sly and shameless, these freesias sold themselves with perfume, the kind,
you know, which smells of ripeness, heady, lush, excessive, conjuring scent on warm skin,
imagined boudoirs, oozing and juice and indolence, bruised peaches,
softening melons, liquefying plums...

Generous and demanding, effusive, greedy, given to say thank you,
when rather they'd extract it from us as their due.


Kelly said...

That was beautiful Lucy. Looks like the recharge worked out well.

Zhoen said...

Insistent beauty.

The Crow said...

Breath-taking, Lucy - both image and commentary! I particularly am taken with the play of light through the petels.

Dale said...

It's so often the way, with beautiful things :-)

Lovely writing, Lucy

Jean said...

Gorgeous, gorgeous photo - I can smell them!

Roderick Robinson said...

Oh Gawd, and there was me thinking they were pansies. These days when the gardener arrives I stroll out and have a word or two, conscious of exercising some sort of droit du seigneur. But these chats are becoming more and more strained as my limited vocabulary is strained to busting. I must pay more attention to the posts I normally skim over. At least on this occasion you've made it easier for me, creating a huge crop of adjectives for me to harvest.

D. Jean Quarles said...

A lovely image and beautiful, thoughtful prose.

Unknown said...

A woman who was sitting next to me at a formal lunch - I think it was in Guernsey - once said to me, "men can't smell freesias". As far as I am concerned she was right. I must rely on your description to know what I am missing. "Scent on warm skin, bruised peaches, liquifying plums..." Ooh!

HKatz said...

The way you describe the flowers, they could be characters in a story. And a beautiful photo too - you've captured the light that they've trapped in them.

Avus said...

One of my favourite flowers, with a divine scent. Unfortunately bought ones lose their scent almost immediately. I was astounded, when visiting daughter HHnB in Oz to find them growing delightfully wild, en masse. Commenting on it to her she explained that they are not indigenous, but introduced by settlers and now looked upon as a "feral weed".