Wednesday was the 21st of June – the solstice and the start of summer. Which means today is the 24th – Midsummer’s Day and as good a time as any to post more photos of roses.
I went looking for the origin of the quotation I used in the title and found that the first article and lack of capital letter for the first ‘rose’ makes it a mis-quotation from Gertrude Stein’s Sacred Emily.
There’s a whole Wikipedia page dedicated to “Rose is a rose is a rose”. I don’t think the page itself is that interesting, but the list of references at the bottom gives plenty of scope for going off at tangents as it seems the phrase has been re-hashed again and again by different writers in different contexts.
Perhaps my favourite, which I hadn’t come across before, is the quote from Cortázar’s Rayuela:
A es A, a rose is a rose is a rose, April is the cruellest month, cada cosa en su lugar y un lugar para cada rosa es una rosa es una rosa…
“Everything in its place and a place for every rose” is inspirational.
For no particular reason, it reminds me of a time, many years ago, when I would buy flowers every Saturday when I went to the market.
I believed that however chaotic other parts of my life were, these flowers were essential: it was important to keep control of small routines, to remember to treat myself to small luxuries, to care enough about my surroundings to put flowers on the kitchen table and replace them with fresh flowers when they died.
When work, family and love life were all difficult, this careful, conscious control was a centre of beauty and calm that helped to anchor me.
I hadn’t expected to get nostalgic when I started to write this post: it was merely intended to be a collection of photos of roses.
But now I’m in the mood for memories I can’t finish without re-posting this midsummer night’s dream poem:
Noche de San Juan
I dreamed of you last night and woke
to moonlight, sheet-tangled feet
cat-twisted and cold.
I drowsed again, through decades, slipped
between cities and crossed continents,
embracing and embraced,
now chasing and now chased,
no pause between the kisses passed
from partner on to partner
down through the yearning years.
I dreamed of you last night
and woke to moonlight.