Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A Flock of Oleanders and More

White Oleanders bring to mind flocks of egrets on a misty morning and Derek Wolcott's book White Egrets in which he says  "Some friends, the few I have left,are dying, but the egrets stalk through the rain / as if nothing mortal can affect them."

In the same book Walcott also says   “The perpetual ideal is astonishment”  Oleanders astonish me with  their beauty and toxicity - everything about the plant is toxic even the smoke should you attempt to burn those pruned limbs, yet once they are established  they are stubbornly  persistent, enduring all manner of assaults both man-made and natural . An oleander was the  first flower to bloom again in Hiroshima, after the assault and  ruin of the atomic bomb in 1945. 

This white oleander is named  Sister Agnes - My girl's High School principle was Sister Agnes De Sales, witty, unflappable, enduring in her white coif.  She frequently astonished her students.

Love After Love

The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other's welcome,

and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.

Derek Walcott

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