Clerodendron trichotomum, was in front of me while I was sitting out yesterday.
I've never troubled to find out anything about it before, simply enjoyed it for the fact that it is attractive and unusual in several ways at different stages, with bright pretty leaves in spring and autumn, dainty flowers with a heady jasmine perfume in the summer, and then these extraordinary bracts and berries in autumn, the latter a shade of blue rarely found in nature, and quite metallic in their lustre. I also learn from the wiki article, though, that it is sometimes known as the peanut butter tree, because its leaves smell of peanut butter when crushed, which I have never noticed but shall seek to confirm when I next go past it.
The person who gave it to us, as a sucker from his own garden, I do not recall with great affection, and sometimes when Tom refers to it, since the Latin will elude him, he does so as 'that thing what's-his-name gave us' in a tone of mixed embarrassment and contempt. However, it would be unfair to hold that against the shrub, and since in the histoire* of the estrangement I felt myself, for once, more sinned against than sinning, it is really not too much of a bad association at all. Indignation is really much less uncomfortable and persistent than remorse.
Jeff looked in last post, which was nice. Now his is a blog I've only discovered in the last couple of years, I think, which shows there are still unexpected treasures to be found in this sphere. He's a very erudite and talented American mediaevalist, which is a delight in itself, and a friendly, interesting all-round good egg, I reckon. He's just started posting monthly instalments of a long poem, inspired by his move from city to country and by mediaeval calendar poems. It's gorgeous: dense and mysterious but vivid and inviting at the same time, full of alliteration and figures and images calling up Anglo-Saxon verse and books of hours, but also telling of his own inner journey, memories and transformations. The latest has skies full of constellations and the figures that inhabit them, 'windows ... wicked with life', spiders and a salutary dialogue with a mantis, and this, which I hope might be true:
Whatever you’re certain won’t sing to you now
Waits to be witness to one formal act:
Recite the things you see and hear
Freely, even if others brand it
Daft enchantment or a children’s song,
And start simple. The sense can wait:
“She swept the ash from the iron grate…”
“Sage and parsley in pots left behind…”
“Three white horses on a hillside farm…”
A great friend suggested recently that if now is a time when the writing of poems has deserted me, it might be a good one to read some, and indeed, blogs are still where they may be found, I find.
* I use franglais carefully and for a reason, as I like to think I usually do; I am leery and rather disdainful of it otherwise. Histoire is story and history, but also a business, a matter, a fuss... covers quite a lot, and fits the bill.