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Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Not everyone appreciates tulips (unlike me). Tuesday's Truths WK 120

The figurine (picture above) who was intent on planting some bulbs (within my indoor succulent garden) and I were comparing notes re our experiences with flowers that are produced by them including; Muscari, crocuses and tulips. Over the years (more than ten) of maintaining my rooftop garden with the help of JV, bulbs for many varieties of the aforementioned flowers have been planted in my place.

For this season, crocus and tulip bulbs were planted in early December of 2018 (we planted them within eighteen different containers), and a few examples of various tulip bulbs can be seen below.

As you can see from a couple of these images, a few of the bulbs were already "sprouting," because we got a late start in planting them last year.  JV and I both appreciate all aspects of what is grown here, including the beauty we see in bulbs.

A number of people (including a former colleague) have told me that I am fortunate to see the beauty in "little things," which is a part of my nature and is something I have thought to be the case with every person; but I've learned that many people don't even notice the "little things."

Be that as it may, last December after JV and I planted bulbs, we did our usual winterizing, a tedious process which is well worth the effort because my garden continues to flourish no matter how harsh a winter has been. Our annual winterizing process has been discussed in prior entries here on Blogger.

Additionally, details re the procedures involved in Urban Garden Winterizing is included in volume three of my book series, Words In Our Beak.*


But getting back to tulips, shoots from the variety of bulbs planted in December are now beginning to wake-up at their own pace; as evidenced in the following set of images, which represent only a fraction of what is coming up in my garden.

The early shoots of tulips are another supposed "little thing" that JV and I appreciate. We hardly consider this occurrence little! And he and I also appreciate tulips at their end of life phase. An example of a tulip variety in this state is featured in the photo directly below.

In any event, I am anticipating beautiful flowers from the bulbs planted in 2018, but am grateful to witness early these stages of their growth, as I have with so many tulip varieties that have bloomed here over the years.

I plan to share photographs of the flowers that will be produced by the bulbs of what you see here (once they've fully bloomed).

Meanwhile here are some pictures (which were taken from bygone years) of tulips in various stages of their individual bloom.

Many of the varieties seen directly above are included in volume one of Words In Our Beak, and Cam, the female cardinal (who is the storyteller in these books) offers a lot of information about each particular tulip type. Cam can be seen in the following photograph where she is admiring a variety of tulips known as Fire Sprays.

However, I do know that while Cam, JV and myself enjoy all aspects of tulips, not everyone appreciates them; which is the truism in this episode of my Tuesday's Truths series.

I was speaking with a neighbor, M, last night, telling her that my crocuses were blooming...

..... and that my tulips were on their way. I invited her over to see them once they've bloomed, but M informed me that she did not like tulips, because, "they don't last long."

M is hardly the first person I know to not like tulips but it's the first time I've been given that reason.

The poet, Sylvia Plath, also did not enjoy tulips, but her reasons were quote different than M's. In her poem, Tulips, Plath likens the tulip's opening to "the mouth of an African cat" and was insulted that the "tulips ate her oxygen."

I confess there was a time during childhood that I felt that type of despair which I discussed in a blog post. Having gone through that especially dark time should make me all the more thankful that I can enjoy the "little things" re tulips as well as many aspects of nature.

In any event, as I end this one-hundred and twentieth segment of Tuesday's Truths, I'll leave you with a copy of Plath's poem, Tulips.

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 teaset, 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 swaddlings, 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 color,   
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.
*Words In Our Beak Purchase Info:

Volume One: ISBN: 9780996378529
Book Seller Info:
Barnes & Noble On-Line:
book culture On Columbus (a bookstore on the UWS in NYC):

Volume Two: ISBN: 9780996378536
Book Seller Info:
Barnes & Noble On-Line:

Volume Three: ISBN: 978099637853
Book Seller Info:
Barnes & Noble On-Line:


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