Sunday, April 15, 2007

sun-down poem, policeman, ranunculus

As a result of quoting a poem here, which I thought I was alone in knowing and liking, someone who apparently shares my taste for it, has been in touch. This is a good example of the pleasures of the Internet and of blogging. Sam Thurston writes: "I have loved that poem (I heard a noise and wished for a sight) for over 40 years ever since I read it in the same volume you did when I was 21." His full comment and the poem, as quoted, are in my archive for Sunday April 1. (See column on right).Thank you Sam for getting in touch.

In the Pantiles, a community policeman passes the time of day with the owner of a cafe. They are a new breed, these police community support officers. He has a , pedal bike with a yellow saddle bag and the inscription "police" printed on it in black letters. He seems well equipped for the job. He wears a ridged, grey crash helmet and a yellow, sleeveless jacket. There are pockets and pouches everywhere, a telephone on his shoulder, a dynamo and powerful light on his bike. Without all this paraphernalia, you would barely notice him, a middle aged man in spectacles merging in with the crowd.

A friend brings a couple of ranunculus flowers , one bright yellow and one bright red. Their tight balls of petals seem far removed from the simple and often invasive buttercup, which is the familiar wild flower at the heart of the Ranunculacae family. Only the toothed leaves remind you of the connection.

3 comments:

Lucy said...

Pretty things those ranunculus, but one should never bring flowers in even numbers.

Plutarch said...

Lucy has a point. I had never heard about it being wrong to give flowers in even numbers. A dozen red roses after all seemed to be a fairly usual quantity. But it was Heidi who drew my attention to the custom in Germany never to give flowers in even numbers. The two ranunculus given to us were in pots. I wonder if this makes a difference in the lore of flower giving.

Lucy said...

In fact I think it's a middle-European custome that it's actually bad luck or bad form; as you say, a dozen roses is traditional. When making a mixed bunch the received notion is that odd numbers look better, likewise with food garnishes. Two plants in pots is probably different, after all, you'll probably have more than one flower from each plant anyway!