by Angeliska on September 24, 2012
The Oxblood Lilies are telling me it’s fall now – the autumnal equinox has crossed over us with candles lit, and the scent of burning cinnamon bark. I mean to have a Mabon feast for the Witches’ Thanksgiving, but it will have to wait until I am more sorted out, and until it’s cool enough here for a proper bonfire. This year I sit on the porch with my mug in the mornings and talk to my animals. It is strange to mark this turning on my own, to have no stalwart sweetheart to remark upon the red blooms to. Very strange indeed. Everything is different now, everything is irrevocably changed, but still the lilies spring up like clockwork in the fall. I keep having dreams and visions of blood and massacre, of creatures I love torn apart, red splashes on the earth, pieces of them strewn among the scarlet lilies. Terrible dreams. I am seeking to change where my mind goes – to realign my neural pathways and train my thoughts to follow better roads. It’s hard work. I’m glad this long, brutal summer is fading, but I fear another icy winter in this drafty old house. I’m stretching my arms up to the sky to beseech the weather wraiths for a long, golden autumn – full of fruit and all kinds of abundance.
My friend Del sent this to me recently:
“The first of the day lilies in my yard came up last night, and bloomed this morning. They are called ox-blood lilies. The appear overnight, as if by magic. They are not the ethereal white rain lilies I love, but full lipped and thick hipped blooms. A brown, August empty barren yard becomes rich with red blossom. They cannot be purchased in any store. They come up that first day of fall, when the light changes so subtly that most never notice. It means; comes cool weather; here comes sleep for the tepid green world, and grey wind sends us all indoors to keep warm and make love. I love this red magic plant surprise. I always send pictures of them to good hearts, for a good year to come, and a good year spent.”
Rhodophiala bifida are heirloom bulbs, also called Hurricane Lilies, School House Lilies, or Fall Amaryllis can only be purchased through The Southern Bulb Company:
“Sometimes called the School House lily, these hardy plants frequently make appearances in older neighborhoods of Central Texas. Oxblood lily flower bulbs bloom with a vivid display of several entrancing flowers in the Fall. They are historic and, until now, are almost impossible to buy.”
I’ve found poetry to be a great consolation and comfort again – not in the maudlin, clutching way I hunted pertinent phrases and passages down in my youth, but almost as prayers, paeans, mantras. Like this one:
The time will come
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.
– Love After Love
(thanks to Coyopa for this!)
Sisters, I prescribe you a daily reading of this poem in Spanish and English to yourself as you stand naked before a mirror.
I have also prescribed this same remedy to myself.
I have named you queen.
There are taller than you, taller.
There are purer than you, purer.
There are lovelier than you, lovelier.
But you are the queen.
When you go through the streets
No one recognizes you.
No one sees your crystal crown, no one looks
At the carpet of red gold
That you tread as you pass,
The nonexistent carpet.
And when you appear
All the rivers sound
In my body, bells
Shake the sky,
And a hymn fills the world.
Only you and I,
Only you and I, my love,
Listen to me.
Yo te he nombrado reina.
Hay más altas que tú, más altas.
Hay más puras que tú, más puras.
Hay más bellas que tú, hay más bellas.
Pero tú eres la reina.
Cuando vas por las calles nadie te reconoce.
Nadie ve tu corona de cristal,
nadie mira la alfombra de oro rojo que pisas donde pasas,
la alfombra que no existe.
Y cuando asomas suenan todos los ríos en mi cuerpo,
sacuden el cielo las campanas,
y un himno llena el mundo.
Sólo tú y yo,
sólo tú y yo,
amor mío, lo escuchamos.
– La Reina / The Queen
by Pablo Neruda
The rain lilies have been blooming constantly – a good omen for this autumn. They make me feel as if, contrary to how things feel right now, that I could find a way to believe in or hope for that last line to be true. I really do want to think so.
How should I not be glad to contemplate
the clouds clearing beyond the dormer window
and a high tide reflected on the ceiling?
There will be dying, there will be dying,
but there is no need to go into that.
The poems flow from the hand unbidden
and the hidden source is the watchful heart.
The sun rises in spite of everything
and the far cities are beautiful and bright.
I lie here in a riot of sunlight
watching the day break and the clouds flying.
Everything is going to be all right.
Everything is Going to Be All Right
– Derek Mahon
Here’s are some songs by Emmanuelle Parrenin that tell me the same:
Ce Matin À Frèmontel (Maison Rose, 1977)
Thibault Et L’arbre D’or
More from days of yore:
FOLDEROL, FALL AND ALL