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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Dearest Tulip, Even you could not console Sylvia Plath . . .

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 @
These three wide mouthed tulips that are at the northeast portion of my urban terrace garden have just opened up, and in doing so they have brought to my attention the fact that a  white tulip that is directly across from them, in the southeast corner of my terrace garden, has posted a blog entry voicing his concerns about Sylvia Plath's poem, Tulips

This poem, as you may recall, was posted by yours truly a little over a week ago, and if you'd like to refer to it, please click here.

Apparently this tulip (and apparently wannabe-blogger,) who resides in a lovely bowl supported by a unique rod iron stand, and now has company because his friends have just started to open, (as seen in the photograph posted below). was a little distressed at Ms. Plath's imagery in likening the tulip's opening to "the mouth of an African cat" and was insulted that the "tulips ate her oxygen", when really all the tulips probably wanted to do, my tulip explained to me today, in earnest, was to cheer her up, make her well again.

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 @

I tried to tell my tulip that humans are complicated, and sometimes, when they are in despair, they want and feel the need to stay in a bad state. I let my tulip know that if I knew why this was so, I would be earning a much better wage than I am now. My tulips know I love them because I give them great care, and surround them with beautiful friends, as evidenced in the aerial photograph, which was taken by Juan V yesterday and is posted below. (The vantage point is the roof of the building where I live, which is the only way anyone can look down on my entire garden unless they live in one of the surrounding high rise buildings.)

However, I did explain to the tulip that when a human is in despair, such as Sylvia Plath was, it does not matter to them whether they are cared for or not, nor does having material things matter. The only thing people in a state of depression want is what Ms. Plath stated, "I didn't want flowers, I only wanted to lie with my hands turned up and utterly empty."

I also confided in my tulip, telling him that there was a time when I did not want to be consoled with flowers. Tulips in fact. The tulips that grew alongside of the house where I grew up. The tulips that my grandmother wanted me to enjoy when I was eleven years old, but, at that time, I preferred to stay in my bedroom with an air-conditioner on to block out the chirping birds, and with room darkening shades pulled all the way down, as far as they could go, and, with the little bit of light that seeped in, I would lie in bed — instead of going to school or learning to do pirouettes in dance class as my sisters were doing — and watch a bug crawl in and out of a small hole in the wall. 

I did not want tulips. I wanted the neurofibromas that were multiplying on my torso, scalp and face to disappear (which were a result of my Neurofibromatosis condition (a condition which I blogged about some time ago). I also wanted to see without needing glasses that caused the kids at school to call me Coke-Bottles, but, most of all, I wanted my father to move back home so that my mother would stop crying and crying, and I truly believed that if my father saw how ill and sad I was, he'd move back, and we'd be a happy family again.

But the years came and went, he did not move back, and I did not go outside to look at our tulips nor did I go to school much, preferring to stay and watch that bug  crawl in and out of the small hole in my bedroom wall — in the safeness of my darkroom —  than face the stigma of my having lumps and bumps brought on by my having neurofibromatosis, nor did I want to face the taunting that occurred due to my thick glasses to assist me in my extreme myopia, nor did I want to face the stigma of being a child of divorce (which was huge back in the day), and I certainly did not want anyone to give me tulips — or any other flower — and pretend that everything was all right.

Today, I rejoice with my flowers, appreciating their beauty and appreciating the fact that I can enjoy them after so many dark years. I am luckier than Sylvia Plath, dearest tulip, because she ultimately gave in to despair, dying from suicide: and so you see, my sweet tulip, even you could not console Sylvia Plath. 

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