Tag Archives: flowers

1400. Spring Equinox

It is just two weeks before the Spring Equinox. Today it’s raining and blowing a gale. I wonder how best to “celebrate” this blog’s 1400th story.

Putting on a warm pullover and raincoat I went up the little hill at the back of my house where there are the ruins of a home. The derelict house was built in the late 1800s. Growing in the field around the house are clumps of now wild daffodils and snowdrops, all in full flower. The field was once a garden. There is a grove of camellia trees in bloom, red and white. The abandoned kitchen cupboard hides a few old preserving jars and a starling’s nest.

The farming Hamblyn family used to live there. It was there that Charles and Mary Hamblyn began their married life in 1887. The excitement of breaking in new land! From wild forest to farm! From flooding quagmire to dairy cows! It was there they had their thirteen children. Two children died in infancy, but by 1905 there were eight healthy sons and three healthy daughters! Here’s a little information on some of them…

William Charles Hamblyn: the oldest son, a cheese-maker at the factory down the road, left for France on the 9th December 1916. Killed in France on the 9th of June 1917.

James Edward Hamblyn: the second son, a farm hand, left for France on the 13th April 1916. Missing, later declared killed in France, on the 9th September 1917.Henry John Hamblyn: the third son, a farm hand, left for France on the 5th of March 1916. Missing, later declared killed in France, on the 3rd of October 1916.

Thomas Day Hamblyn: the fourth son, a farm hand, left for France on the 9th December 1916. Killed in France on the 9th of June 1917, the same day as his oldest brother.

Richard Ernest Hamblyn: the fifth son, a farm hand, left for France on the 18th September 1916. On the 28 November 1917, declared “No longer physically fit for war service on account of illness contracted on active service”.

Frederick Leonard Hamblyn: the sixth son, a farm hand, left for France on the 28th September 1917. On the 4th of October 1917, classified as injured with an “indeterminate disability”. The authorities believed that four brothers killed and another ill was enough.

Before the two surviving veteran sons could return home, father Charles and youngest brother Osborne died back home in the 1918 flu epidemic.

I wonder who planted all those daffodils and snowdrops? Who established the grove of red and white of camellias? Was it Mary the mother, or the sisters Winifred, Bessie and Letitia? Perhaps it was their brother, Harold, who never went to war, or Richard and Frederick who came back. Perhaps it was the children themselves in an earlier time. Perhaps it was their father. Maybe even grandchildren.

Few remember the family of course. But there’s a remnant of memory in those flowers each year at the end of winter. In the field next to the old house a cow has had a calf. It’s a girl! It is two weeks before the Spring Equinox. It’s not a platitude to say new life begins to spin out of control.

1315. Tidy Mrs Connolly

Mrs Connolly’s garden was a picture of tidiness. She was a tidy person. She lived next door to a large cemetery and was delighted that the cemetery was kept so shipshape. It was as if her garden sprawled over quite a few acres with neat rows of stone monuments.

Mrs Connolly liked to wander the cemetery. She knew the graves quite well. In particular, she knew the graves that were visited regularly, and those visited once a year on an anniversary, and those never visited. Most times, especially with the once-a-year visitors, flowers would be left on the graves. Mrs Connolly found it rather moving.

Of course, those who placed flowers every week removed the previous week’s bouquets. The once-a-year visitors’ flowers were often left to wilt.

The inside of Mrs Connolly’s house too, was a picture of tidiness. And always with lots and lots of flowers.

Poem 80: When birds begin to sing

When birds begin to sing
I know with joy that spring is near.
Somehow, this time of year,
the birds join up in pairs and build
nests, lay eggs in song-filled
days, feed, are never stilled lest
the fledglings leave the nest too soon.

Fresh things are everywhere!
Flowers bloom! Fruit forms! The air – it cries
new life! And butterflies!
And bees! Yet here, in my old, spent
winter of discontent
I must not not forget to turn
the page, the page, the page.

(Based on the Vietnamese Luc Bat).

1259. An insidious thing

Diana won first place at the local agricultural show for her pansies in a pot. The citation citated: First place goes to Diana for her pansies in a pot in the Pansies in a Pot section of the Potted Plants Section of the Flower Section of the Gardening Section of the Agricultural Show.

Diana was enormously proud of her achievement. “It’s not everyone,” said Diana, “who is awarded first place for her pansies in a pot in the Pansies in a Pot section of the Potted Plants Section of the Flower Section of the Gardening Section of the Agricultural Show.”

When she walked along the street Diana knew that people were looking at her. Jealousy is an insidious thing. She could feel their spite as they stared. They were talking about her behind her back in a disparaging and offensive manner.

“Not everyone,” said Diana, “can be a winner.”

“When she went into a plant shop she always asked if they had any pansies in a pot. She didn’t want to buy any, of course. She was simply using it as an opener to tell the shop keeper of her stunning triumph.

The shop keepers declared each time that they had never even heard of such an award – let alone the winner.

Jealousy is an insidious thing, oh yes, is it not? said Diana.

Poem 64: The meaning of flowers

 

The path from my front door
is lined with maybe more than flowers;
each bloom bud stands somehow
for love, or joyful vows, or truth…
Since ancient times virtues
lived nestled in a blue or red,
pink or white, petal bed:
love felt but never said, for fear;
the grace of rue; the cheer
of daisies; phlox that cares, adores!

And yet my pathway walk
is lined with silent thoughts, harsher
than thistles of a marsh;
despair that wilts and lasts; bereft
of hope, since when you left;
footsteps fading, heart cleft, too late
to lock the garden gate,
too late to hide the hate that seethes
along the path, in trees,
in flowers, in seeds, from my front door.

All day I think my ears will catch
the lifting of the latch.

(The form of this month’s poems is based on the Vietnamese luc bat).