I think perhaps some regular readers will know that I love bright flowers. I’m sure I’ve said that salmon pink geraniums and sunflowers are among my favourites.
So you can imagine my feelings when I realised that all the plants I bought this spring were white.
There were half a dozen begonias – not my favourite plants at the best of time, but they were cheap and I thought they’d be cheerful, but they have turned out all to be white.
They aren’t even the type to have those great shaggy blooms that look too heavy for the stalks to support them; they’re all fussy little wax-like nonentities and the only big thing about them is my disappointment.
I bought half a dozen geraniums, too, imagining for some reason that they might be assorted colours.
I’d have loved salmon pink, been delighted by scarlet, and really wouldn’t have minded any other colour.
But white hardly counts as a colour at all.
So I went for a walk this morning to see if I could find something else to brighten up the blog.
I found bindweed.
And I found white roses in vast quantities.
Lots of white roses.
I actually have a poem that will do very well to accompany all these white flowers, although it is not exactly seasonal. It’s a translation of Flores blancas en la niebla/ Flors blanques en la boira by Joan Margarit.
I wrote it back in 2001 or 2002 and it’s reasonably faithful to the original – a genuine translation, for once, not a transcreation.
White flowers in the fog
Grey sheets of frost
covered the almond grove;
but the rains came like a mask, and the grass
blotted out the mirrors of cold. Warm air
in the eyes of winter began to lie
to those grey wings
of unreliable birds in naked trees.
In a single night of warmth
with reflections of shadow in the glass,
the almond trees blossomed.
You, too, arrived
in a season of cold and solitude:
Love was the breeze
on the grey frost. Forgotten flowers
into the frozen atmosphere: a warm snow
of short-lived white blooms. Sadly,
I remember them in the winter
that froze them in a single night.
I’m now wondering whether, surrounded by all these white blooms as I am, and with all these additional years of experience in translation, I should revisit it and use it as a stepping stone to create something new.