Friday, June 11, 2010

Roadside Blues . . .

I had to pick up my old friend, Homer Stern
At the airport yesterday
To the north of here by the town of Beauvais
It was a good reason to go back there
To see the cathedral again
For the second time in a week
For who can tire of visiting cathedrals ?
I had taken him there to the airport a few days ago
For his departure to Budapest
He had wanted to visit that exotic city
To try to salvage echoes from his distant past
When he returned yesterday
I could see he had lived a lifetime there
And he had a whole suitcase full of echoes
I silently hoped that one day he might share
A few of them with me
But he is a very secretive fellow
We had hardly pulled out of the fenced airport
In a bit of a drizzling rain
When he cried, "Halt !"
So I pulled off the road
He said, "Just look,
Look at those roadside blues . . ."
And so I did . . .
And though this is not a blog about flowers
Sometimes I cannot help myself
When the simple beauty
Of the world we inhabit
Casts itself before my eyes.
Who could harm such a place ?
And I said to Homer
"I missed you brother of mine"

A little further on down the road
He cried, "Halt !" again
For poppies this time
And light lavender colored miracles
Stretching off into the distance . . .

So we stopped again
To look at freshly washed poppies
Still glistening from their shower . . .

If any of you astute and erudite readers
Know the name of these light lilac colored
Blooms with dark blue streaks
Pray tell, pray tell . . .

When I was rather young
I can remember getting
Totally exasperated
When my father would stop
To photograph wildflowers
Along mountain trails
When there were lakes
Full of fish awaiting us
If you are reading this now
Father of mine
I would love to see those photos
You took so long ago
If they could be rooted out
From the closet where they lay
Perhaps more than you know
I learned something along those walks
It just took rather a long time
For the lessons to grow
And show . . .


And again if a learned reader
Knows the name of these white blossoms
I would be most grateful to learn it . . .

As I am wont to do
We stopped in a small village cemetery
Deep in the countryside
There was no one dropping in
But us and the rain
A peony bush was blazing pink
Defying the grey elements . . .

Bowed down by the weight
Of all that falling water
Other blooms were sinking
Near another one once risen
Now fallen here . . .

Miracles were many yesterday
As Homer and I wandered city streets
And country lanes
But this most surprising
Eruption of many buds
From a single thick stalk
Was perhaps the highlight
Of a well illuminated day
"What the heck is it ?"
I heard Homer say . . .

Atop a cemetery wall
Around a church visible
From a main road
Which I'd said to Homer
I wanted to go look at
More closely
This strange yellow colony
Was happily thriving
Another mystery
Why did I not
Learn more botany ???
There is such a wealth
Of poetry in botany . . .




Steve said...

The reds and yellows are gorgeous but it's the blues that do it for me... so deep and rich...

:: Karine :: said...

magnifique comme d'habitude owen adoré !

et cette précision pour voir l'âme des gens sur leur tombe comme un dernier "au revoir", un dernier poème, un dernier hommage grâce à tes photos !

tu es un grand homme owen, humain et talentueux

ravie, oui vraiment ravie de t'avoir rencontré un jour :-)

Owen said...

Ah Steve, the blues do it for me too, hence the title...

Just the thing after a week of sparring and jabbing at the office...

Owen said...

Tu me fais rougir; je ne suis qu'un petit crapaud au bord de mon étang, à croasser avec une voix de crapaud qui se mélange aux autres voix, et heureusement là il y a qqs fleurs qui poussent pour enjoliver les parages...

Oui, tu me touches là, profondement; moi aussi je suis ravi du jour ou j'ai trouvé par hasard un jour une vie, et je vois d'ailleurs que tu viens de publier encore une merveille...

Je ne peux que souhaiter qu'un jour, dans une vie, que nos rencontres virtuels deviendront un rencontre réel...

Les personnes du monde des blogs que j'ai pu rencontrer en réel jusqu'ici ont été sans exception des personnages exceptionnels.

Merci Karine... et peut-être à bientôt

:: Karine :: said...

à bientôt owen adoré et yes tu peux caresser mon chat Carat :-)

CiCi said...

Homer sounds like an astute person. And your friendship is awesome. I like the little talk to your father.

Lydia said...

Oh, Owen! These images are just exquisite, and your commentary sublime. Once again, you make me fall in love with France.....although I doubt anyone else there could bring the beauty of your area more to life than you do. I really love this post and each and every flower.

Anonymous said...

You are an artist.

mythopolis said...

Wonderful post. Inspiring photos and words. I got lost in thought a couple of times. The one dropping in but us and the rain.....that held me captive for more than a moment, for sure. And as for 'suitcase full of echoes' ......that is the opening for so many untold stories....great!


Bonnie Zieman, M.Ed. said...

Stunning pics. I especially love poppies. Sorry I can not help you identify the flowers you requested.
Nice travelling with you.

Patricia said...

The "what the heck is it" plant is a type of allium. Nectaroscordum siculum to be precise. I have two in my garden but they are native to southern Europe.

Anonymous said...

The only thing i can say, is that this was quite beautiful, and moving,,,live sometimes deserve as well, a little bit of blues,is a matter of contrast.
Wish you a blues weekend my Friend.

clo said...

hello howdy dear Owen..
le temps passe vite il me semble que ça fait si longtemps que je ne suis pas passée te faire un petit signe...
merci pour cette balade champêtre.. de vrais tableaux de maitre :o)j'aime les fleurs des champs ,la vipérine,les silènes, les coquelicots, le lin bleu, les pivoines elles sont belles comme des reines....
le printemps s'étire doucement ...bientot il va céder sa place a l'été, bientot les vacances que l' on attend avec impatience....
j'espère que tout va bien pour toi et ta petite famille...
je t'embrasse bien amicalement...prends soin de toi..
plein de bisoux owen..:o)

Roxana said...


Homer!!!!! :-)

marvelling, breathless!!!


the fields, the flowers, the friendship, your sweetness - halt!

Stickup Artist said...

I really loved this tale of male bonding during this odyssey punctuated by flowers with Homer and remembering similar boyhood days with your father. It's wonderful to hear of men who can appreciate such time spent together over something other than cars or sports. Not that there's anything wrong with cars and sports, it's just refreshing to see an added dimension.

I really love the shot with the big bright pink flower in the foreground and the blurred cathedral in the back.

Lynne with an e said...

I have peony envy.

Clytie said...

Hey, you're not supposed to make me cry.

Drat it!

But they are good tears.
For beauty,
For flowers,
For memories,
For friends ...
For stopping in the middle of the road to capture a moment forever ...

Owen said...

Hi TechnoB.,
I must admit, as I wouldn't want to lead anyone astray, that Homer is an imaginary friend who has been popping in and out of my life for rather a long time, some twenty years or so, but he is terribly astute, far moreso than I, and he helps me see things that I might have missed otherwise, and helps me say things which I might not have said all by myself. He is a consortium, an amalgam, of a number of people I once knew, one who had the same surname, but who is no longer with us... now you know all...

My father, on the other hand, is very real, and really did stop to photograph flowers along mountain trails. He is over 80 at present, and showing no signs of slowing down.

Owen said...

Hi Lydia,
If I can in some small way to contribute to helping you fall in love with France, then that is a noble goal to pursue, and I shall continue in such efforts. I too fell in love with France over a number of trips, and was very fortunate that the fates conspired to give me a chance to live here. A privilege which I treasure most on days like last Thursday when I could escape for a little while and go roam the countryside, which I do at every chance... and have not tired of doing these past 18 years here. Thank you from the bottom of my toad heart for these kind words...

Owen said...

Dear Robert,
Perhaps I should reply : it takes one to know one ?

Owen said...

Dr. Mythopolis,
I am particularly pleased if my minor literary efforts succeed in helping someone get lost in thought for a moment...

It is terribly hard today to be in the least original with creative thoughts, as so much ground has already been covered by others. Those proverbial infinite monkeys sitting before their infinite typewriters for the past couple of centuries, producing and infinite number of texts growing in a geometric progression, are homing in on finally typing one of Shakespeare's plays, and in the meanwhile have churned out such an abundance of black words on white paper, to fill up the largest libraries imaginable, leaving little room for us mere mortals to say anything worthy of remembering...

But like a vagabond by the roadside leaning against a post, I continue to whistle, thinking one day a melody all my own might be produced. Vanitas ? Illusions ? Ships in the night ?
Thank you good sir... anybody who loves old Volkswagens is ok in my book...

Owen said...

Thank you so much, you are very welcome to join the bus, for some unguided travelling, and no telling where it may be stopping next... roll up, roll up for the mystery tour... the magical mystery tour is hoping to take you away

Owen said...

Hi Patricia,
A big thank you for identifying the allium, Nectaroscordum siculum ! I don't think I'd ever seen one of those in that phase just before blooming, with all those lovely buds pointing heavenward, like the conical turrets on a wondrous imaginary medieval castle, better than anything Disney imagined... yes indeed, a giant MERCI to you !

Owen said...

Hi Alberto, too true too true, and some beautiful blues to you as well this weekend, as you roam the north lands...

PS There is a good article about Greenland in the latest issue of National Geographic magazine, which you may enjoy if you can get your hands on it...

Owen said...

Howdy Clo ! ! !
Ravi de te revoir, et j'espère que les retrouvailles avec un de retour d'Australie étaient, ou sont, longues et riches en émotions et plaisirs.

Oui, super content de te voir passer, et surtout que tu nous amènes les réponses aux nom de ces fleurs ! J'aurais dû douter que si quelqu'un savait, ce serait Clo !

Alors, toutes ces beautés s'appellent lin bleu, viperine, et silènes... chouettes comme noms, j'adore ce coup de "viperine". Impressionnant comme nom... et impressionnantes tes connaissances des fleurs des champs...

Et oui, la petite famille se fait des petits plaisirs de fin d'année scolaire, le spectacle de théatre d'une fille, l'autre qui devrait faire un spectacle de danse a dû renoncer suite à un petit sejour à l'hopital pour se débarrasser d'un appendix qui s'est averé méchant tout d'un coup, mais qui parti laisse une jeune fille sage et sur la bonne voie de guérisson, mais à part ça, oui, tout va bien ici dans le grand nord.

Oui, ravi de te lire ici, et de savoir que tu ne quittes pas le monde des blogs pour trop longtemps... à bientôt, et bonnes vacances si ce sont des vacances bientôt... bien que, dans le sud on peut vous imaginer en vacances tout le temps, destination de rêve pour tant de monde...

Bisoux to you too chère Clo !

Owen said...

Note to anyone interested :

Clo very kindly pointed out the names of the other flowers, other than the allium which Patricia named above.

The first photo in blues and violet shades are known in French as "Viperine", which in English is Viper's Bugloss.

The white flowers here with bulb shaped structures preceeding the white blooms are Silene or Catchfly.

And the pale violet flowers with dark blue veins in the field with the poppies here are "lin bleu", which translates to Flax...

Live and learn, or should I say, blog and learn.

Thanks again to Clo and Patricia for your help here...

Owen said...

Dear Roxana,
Ah, take a deep breath :-)

Please see answer to TechnoB. above, again, I shouldn't want to mislead anyone, Homer Stern is an imaginary but very close friend. A part of me... you could almost call me a split personality...
Indeed, I was in Beauvais, as the cathedral photos attest, but for reasons which shall remain mysterious here. And there were some magnificent roadside blue viperines near Beauvais. And other wonders to behold, for anyone willing to stop and behold them.

And I am holding my breath to see what will come next on the Floating Bridge. In the meanwhile, you are welcome to pick one or two of the flowers here for a vase on your virtual table...
Thank you Roxana !

Owen said...

Hi Stickup,
Glad you enjoyed the male bonding here (not to be confused with male bondage !), and please see responses to TechnoB and Roxana above, my father is very real, but Homer is a little less so, though he has been with me for a long time, he is a good friend for an imaginary guy.

And yes, imho there is something wrong with these common male obsessions for sports and cars... I do not share them, and am really rather apalled that so many people do share them... with all the very real and glaring problems facing the human race these days, I think it is disturbingly depressing that millions upon millions of men (and a few women too) will, for example, over the next month be madly obsessed with football in South Africa; while oil is gushing in the Gulf of Mexico and Greenland is melting at rates never before witnessed... but what do I know...

oh yes, the big pink flower is a peony, but the blurred structure in the background is not a cathedral, it is much smaller, in a cemetery out in the countryside near a small village, a family vault of a kind rarely built anymore these days...

Absolutely loved your wildflower too...

A fine weekend to you...

Owen said...

Lynne, AHEM !

Please write 100 times ....

"I must not mention peony envy"
"I must not mention..."

Owen said...

Hi Clytie,
Tears are perhaps the finest praise... and as one who is close to you likes to say, if they fill your eyes, then in some small way perhaps they have succeeded as a work of art... and if one could be remembered one day as having lived the life of an artist, I think that is the life most worth living, to drink deeply of life, to transform the wonder around us into something we can hold onto, and remember, and find solace in...
yes, call me "seeking solace in roadside wildflowers"...
Thank you Clytie
Your words here warm my toad heart...

jeff said...

Je commençais à admirer tes photos de coquelicots, que je trouve d'ailleurs superbes... et il faut que tu termines par des fleurs de cimetière...:)

Mais tes larmes de rosée sur ces pétales de coquelicots sont le gage qu'il y a toujours de l'émotion dans ce qu'il y a de plus beau...!
T'inquiètes... ça veut rien dire...! ! !

Amitiés pixpot !

Owen said...

Hello Jeff...

Et oui, un passage d'un bord d'une petite route de campagne vers l'intérieur d'un cimetière perdu et oublié. Mais parfois les fleurs de cimetière sont particulièrement belles, peut-être car bien nourries aux racines profondes ?

En anlglais il y a une expression assez parlant pour décrire l'état d'être mort... he's pushing up daisies (il fait pousser des marguerites)

Mais bon, tu sais que j'ai un faible pour les cimetières, je travaille sur mon doctorat en messages laissés par des êtres humains pour se souvenir de ceux qui sont partis, des messages pour rendre hommage à l'infini; l'infini de la douleur de la perte, l'infini de la joie d'être encore en vie...

"Faut-il que je m'en souvienne
la joie venais toujours après la peine..."

Et c'est avec joie que je constate ton passage ici, et oui, ces coquelicots débordaient d'émotions, je suis resté un long moment au bord d'une route perdue pour les tenir compagnie en pleine campagne... sous la flotte... les pleurs du ciel.

Bon dimanche amigo

dusty said...

I so love reading your posts not about flowers and about wonderful sages such as Homer. I have my own Homer and am quite content when she shares her often poignant wisdom through my words. Write on, beloved Owen.

Owen said...

Hi Dusty... With encouragement such as yours I can do naught else but continue on this strange odyssey. Homer joins me when he can, for he is on an odyssey of his own...

mythopolis said...

I enjoy reading all these responses from your readers. Interesting how tuned in people are, far and wide. Quite wonderful! "Peony envy" really cracked me up! I was thinking about those monkeys on the typewriters. I was reminded of several of the short stories of Jorge Luis Borges. Have you come across him? Amazing stuff. Get a copy, if you don't already have one.

As for Homer, everyone should have an imaginary friend.

My fav photo, (they are all wonderful) for some reason, is the one featuring a couple of blurred poppies, amidst a crowd of buds. As it turns out, while I usually plant a veggie garden every year, this year I planted only one thing. Poppies. The seeds were sent to me from a blogger on Isle of Wight. Gotta love blog land! Peace!

mythopolis said...

PS, by the way....a wonderful homage to your father! I had a good one too. He died abruptly at 40. I still learn things from him. In fact, a few years back I had a plumbing issue in my house. And I had a dream in which my father told me how to solve this problem. Next day, I tried it, and he was right! I know that sounds crazy, but....really!! Some times I find that event so interesting, other times, it seems sorta creepy.

m said...

Your blog is just awesome...
The pictures are spectacular...
Big hug

Amy said...

How do you find so many vivid, stunning flowers? I kept scrolling in awe, feeling like the flowers were leaping at me through the screen. Beautiful photos, Owen.

Owen said...

Just realized now that you'd left some more thoughts here... I am always amazed by the words left by sharp and hilarious readers out there, from many corners of the map... Peony envy is a classic, but then that mad Lynne behind the Louciao moniker is a special case ! Unto herself !

Yeah, those monkeys are typing away, all day, every day, we mere mortals have no chance of keeping up. As for dreams, just saw an interesting comment from Tom Robbins, who observed that in English we say "Sweet Dreams", as though dreams are something sort of passive which may occur, but in French one says, "Fait de beaux reves"... which means "make fine dreams", as though we have an active role in what transpires, if we are so lucky to have nocturnal visions... Perhaps something in you was longing for a visit from your father ? Who knows...

Owen said...

Hi Solange, thanks so much for stopping by here at this obscure little blog... really appreciate your kind words and big hug !

One might guess with such a name you have some French origins ???