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Recommendation: Pansies by Carol Barrett

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scan0001This is a beautiful and gentle book.  It does not claim to be poetry, but it is written by a poet and it begins with a powerful image, comparing the children of a large family to pansies, which “are a persistent breed.  They take to the same soil, year after year.”  If you didn’t read the back of the book it would take you until the third of these finely crafted vignettes to find out what is going on; this is the story of a compassionate woman who needs a babysitter and ends up learning about a sub-culture very different from her own.  The young woman she hires teaches her bit by bit about another way of living, of understanding one’s place in the world.

Young people, who only hear bad stories about different peoples, such as Muslims or unwanted immigrants, should read this book.  So should those who are older and weary of bad news.  The writing is concise, elegant, and honest about the narrator’s mistakes and misunderstandings, as well as about the limits to the relationship.

No, these are not prose poems, but they are close cousins.  I will share it with my poetry group and I expect that they will like it as well as I do.

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Hiatus

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Hi-ā-tus.  Comes from the Latin hiare, to gape.  I wonder if that is connected to the fact that the “ah” sound is when the mouth opens widest.  The “a” turned long in hiatus, a word which first appeared in 1563, according to the OED.

I’ve had a number of gaps in my blogging in the past year, because other things got in the way.  Unscheduled interruptions.  I am now taking an intentional break.  I’m heading east and attending my college reunion.  I won’t have my laptop there.

My garden is sending me off with some healthy looking flowers.  The pansies have given me color all winter and haven’t quit yet.P1000508

These yellow daisy-like flowers are called Chocolate Flower.  Supposedly they smell like chocolate if you brush past them early in the morning.  I’ve never caught the scent.  Maybe it’s not dark chocolate.P1000506

I plan to be back in action about June 1, with pictures, I hope, from past and upcoming travels.  And the new thoughts that being in a new place sometimes brings.

Goodbye to Winter

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After I posted my photos of spring color (March 4) I realized that I had never photographed the flowers which have given me color all winter, a few in my yard and a few by my patio.  As a way of celebrating the end of the season, I give thanks for the blue pansies.  This batch I can see from my study window.

Pansies by the metal lily

Pansies by the metal lily

I learned by trail and error that these traditional pansies are more cold hardy than the fancy varieties.  There is a lovely frilled variety with “antique” in their name, but they are imposters.  I will have some this spring because the ones that died in the cold a year ago left some seeds to sprout.  But these blues have survived every year I’ve planted them.

Pansies by the patio

Pansies by the patio

Happy Equinox to all.  Enjoy the greater energy of longer days.