Tuesday, February 26, 2008

sour and sweet, old, japonica

More about pomegranates. In a book called The Origin of Plants, I read that Henry IV of France took the pomegranate as his device with the motto "sour and sweet". The book quotes a poem by Andre Gide:
A little sour is the juice of the pomegranate
Like the juice of unripe raspberries.
Waxlike is the flower
Coloured as the fruit is coloured.
Close-guarded this item of treasure,
Richness of savour,
Architecture of pentagons.
The rind splits; out tumble the seeds,
In cups of azure some seeds are blood;
On plates of enamelled bronze, others are drops of gold.

We greet the fish and chip shop owner on his way into the Compasses for a pint. "Terrible, " he says, "Nothing works when you get to 79!"

The wax-like red flowers (perhaps a little like the wax-like, red flowers of the pomegranate) of Japonica ride up some railings in Mount Sion. You want to say that, in the perfection of their shape, they look almost as good as artificial flowers. But the light comes off them more with more confidence than if they were really made of wax.


Anonymous said...

that is the favorite book of my florist in Silverdale

Lucy said...

The pomegranate poem is a lovely one. I like what you say about the light coming off them with more confidence, that's just so.

Unknown said...

It is a beautiful book and worth reading as well as looking at. There is a remarkable coloured drawing of a pomegranate. Thank you for visiting They Say... I'm glad you like the poem, Lucy. I hadn't known that Gide wrote poems. I remember seeing a pomegranate orchard in Spain in the Spring years ago and remarking on the wonderful scarlet flowers.