Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Sylvia Plath and Tiny Tim. Even The Gold-Diggers. The Tulipas (Tulips) Speak to Everyone — yours truly included — during this Easter Tide

Patricia Youngquist uses words and images to tell stories about her passions. Based in New York, she currently is authoring a series of nature books on birds of the city. Now in Apple’s iBooks store @ https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/words-in-our-beak/id1010889086?mt=11

Easter, which was celebrated this past Sunday, is not just a single day, but an entire season known as the Easter Tide, which lasts fifty-days from Easter to Pentecost. Easter Tide is a time of new life, and, on this second day, I was blessed with the appearance of new life — a single white tulip (as seen in the photograph above). Its delicate petals against my thick rustic brick wall was not a contrast lost on me. This is just one of the nuances that makes urban gardening such a joy. However, I have never grown tulips in my garden before, and at the end of last season, Juan V suggested that bulbs be planted.

Just three weeks ago their leaves began to peek out from their winter-gear (as seen below),

Patricia Youngquist uses words and images to tell stories about her passions. Based in New York, she currently is authoring a series of nature books on birds of the city. Now in Apple’s iBooks store @ https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/words-in-our-beak/id1010889086?mt=11

the winter-gear (from on-line fabrics) that they had been "dressed" in this past December. From the looks of the buds in the photograph at the top of this blog entry, the lone tulip, will soon be joined by other tulips, whose colors remain a mystery to me, although the buds are providing subtle hints (tufts of magenta? pink? lilac?) as seen on the bud tips below,

Patricia Youngquist uses words and images to tell stories about her passions. Based in New York, she currently is authoring a series of nature books on birds of the city. Now in Apple’s iBooks store @ https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/words-in-our-beak/id1010889086?mt=11

Patricia Youngquist uses words and images to tell stories about her passions. Based in New York, she currently is authoring a series of nature books on birds of the city. Now in Apple’s iBooks store @ https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/words-in-our-beak/id1010889086?mt=11

however, for me, the not knowing what color they will be is another pleasure of gardening — urban or otherwise. Perhaps, the mystery of the tulip's color is like being pregnant, and not knowing if the baby will be a boy or a girl, but knowing it will be loved no matter what it is. But, for today, the white color of my tulip is another detail that is significant to me, as the white color of tulips is a symbol of forgiveness, and one of  the Easter season's celebrations is knowing the power of forgiveness.

Tulips, of course, come in many beautiful colors, including a striking "purple with the color  symbolism of royalty and nobility", a stunning "pink associated with happiness", a vibrant "yellow associated with friendship", as well as a magnificent "red associated with expressing love". There are many, many more varieties of tulip colors, as most everyone knows, and if they are truly blessed have also seen; however, for purposes of this blog posting, I've included these more "common" colors along with their associations, which were presented in this link, because of the writer's other observation, that "if you visualize a tulip flower, the first thought/feeling that engulfs the mind is that of comfort and coziness." The "comfort and coziness" of the red tulip was something the poet, Sylvia Plath, deplored as evident in her poem, Tulips, which has seven stanzas that total sixty-three lines, and, for your convenience is posted below.

The tulips are too excitable, it is winter here.
Look how white everything is, how quiet, how snowed-in
I am learning peacefulness, lying by myself quietly
As the light lies on these white walls, this bed, these hands.
I am nobody; I have nothing to do with explosions.
I have given my name and my day-clothes up to the nurses
And my history to the anesthetist and my body to surgeons.
They have propped my head between the pillow and the sheet-cuff
Like an eye between two white lids that will not shut.
Stupid pupil, it has to take everything in.
The nurses pass and pass, they are no trouble,
They pass the way gulls pass inland in their white caps,
Doing things with their hands, one just the same as another,
So it is impossible to tell how many there are.
My body is a pebble to them, they tend it as water
Tends to the pebbles it must run over, smoothing them gently.
They bring me numbness in their bright needles, they bring me sleep.
Now I have lost myself I am sick of baggage ----
My patent leather overnight case like a black pillbox,
My husband and child smiling out of the family photo;
Their smiles catch onto my skin, little smiling hooks.
I have let things slip, a thirty-year-old cargo boat
Stubbornly hanging on to my name and address.
They have swabbed me clear of my loving associations.
Scared and bare on the green plastic-pillowed trolley
I watched my tea set, my bureaus of linen, my books
Sink out of sight, and the water went over my head.
I am a nun now, I have never been so pure.
I didn't want any flowers, I only wanted
To lie with my hands turned up and be utterly empty.
How free it is, you have no idea how free ----
The peacefulness is so big it dazes you,
And it asks nothing, a name tag, a few trinkets.
It is what the dead close on, finally; I imagine them
Shutting their mouths on it, like a Communion tablet.
The tulips are too red in the first place, they hurt me.
Even through the gift paper I could hear them breathe
Lightly, through their white swadlings, like an awful baby.
Their redness talks to my wound, it corresponds.
They are subtle: they seem to float, though they weigh me down,
Upsetting me with their sudden tongues and their colour,
A dozen red lead sinkers round my neck.
Nobody watched me before, now I am watched.
The tulips turn to me, and the window behind me
Where once a day the light slowly widens and slowly thins,
And I see myself, flat, ridiculous, a cut-paper shadow
Between the eye of the sun and the eyes of the tulips,
And I have no face, I have wanted to efface myself.
The vivid tulips eat my oxygen.
Before they came the air was calm enough,
Coming and going, breath by breath, without any fuss.
Then the tulips filled it up like a loud noise.
Now the air snags and eddies round them the way a river
Snags and eddies round a sunken rust-red engine.
They concentrate my attention, that was happy
Playing and resting without committing itself.
The walls, also, seem to be warming themselves.
The tulips should be behind bars like dangerous animals;
They are opening like the mouth of some great African cat,
And I am aware of my heart: it opens and closes
Its bowl of red blooms out of sheer love of me.
The water I taste is warm and salt, like the sea,
And comes from a country far away as health.


Not wanting to leave you with such dark thoughts, dear reader, (although they are understandable), you can also bear in mind that performers, such as Gold-Diggers and Tiny Tim, perceived tulips in a different way, as you may know from the lyrics posted below of

Tip Toe Through the Tulips.
Tiptoe through the window
By the window, that is where I'll be
Come tiptoe through the tulips with me
Knee deep in flowers we'll stray
We'll keep the showers away
And if i kiss you in the garden. in the moonlight
Will you pardon me?
And tiptoe through the tulips with me.



And with that dear reader, I invite you as spring progresses, to come tip-toe through the store-front of my web-site, where  I offer a collection of invitations that preserve a moment in time, event program covers that enhance any occasion, and greeting cards that are about more than communication, using images that are inspired from my terrace garden.


Patricia Youngquist uses words and images to tell stories about her passions. Based in New York, she currently is authoring a series of nature books on birds of the city. Now in Apple’s iBooks store @ https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/words-in-our-beak/id1010889086?mt=11

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.