Sunday, September 16, 2018

Autumn on the Fjord

This is what our back-door garden looks like now -- a tangle of purple. We've got cosmos on the right, loosestrife in the middle and verbena in the back on the left. Dave always complains that we have way too many pink and purple flowers, with purple buddleia, pink persicaria and purple wild geraniums all growing in the same area -- but I kind of like the coordinated colors. We've got orange nasturtiums and geums in the same bed for contrast.

Another volunteer sunflower has bloomed, this one in a hanging basket up in a tree at the side of the garden. Definitely planted by a squirrel or dropped by a bird!

Most of the fox-and-cubs stopped blooming long ago, but this one stuck up a new flower just last week. It's blooming all by itself.

Coincidentally, as I was sitting on our garden bench reading Karl Ove Knausgaard yesterday, I came across a poem in his book by Norwegian poet Olav H. Hauge. (Knausgaard was recounting a story about interviewing the elderly Hauge decades earlier for a student newspaper, and Hauge offered to read him a few poems.) Although its descriptions of the natural landscape seem distinctly Scandinavian, it also struck me, sitting in my garden on the verge of autumn, as so appropriate:

Time to Gather In 
These mild days of sun in September.
Time to gather in. There are still tufts
of cranberries in the wood, the rose-hips redden
along the stone dykes, nuts fall at a touch,
and clumps of blackberries gleam in thickets,
thrushes poke about for the last red currants
and the wasp sucks away at the sweet plums.
In the evenings I set my ladder aside and hang
up my basket in the shed. Meagre glaciers
already have a thin covering of new snow.
Lying in bed, I hear the throb of the brisling fishers
on their way out. All night, I know, they'll glide
with staring searchlights up and down the fjord.

(And that, my friends, may be the first time I've ever ended a blog post with the word fjord.)


Alphie Soup said...

The pink and purple combination in the flower bed is okay with me. :).
And the poem evokes autumn to what is, no doubt, Scandinavian perfection. I did have to research brisling fishers, at first I thought they were birds and the searchlight puzzled me.
Now I am no longer puzzled.

Yorkshire Pudding said...

Of course whenever a poem is translated something will be lost. In this instance the poem has logical meaning but its tune with echoes and rhymes and subtle wordplay has dissolved away. Well done on ending a blogpost with "fjord". Could you end a post with "and"?

Ms. Moon said...

I had a friend once who said that he "could not abide a yellow flower." Or perhaps it was a purple one. I can't remember but the word "abide" was definitely being used.
I could never understand being intolerant of any color of flower.
The red ones are blooming here now.

Red said...

You're good gardeners if you have those blooms right now.

e said...

Those blooms are beautiful, as is the poem.

Sharon said...

You can never have too many purple flowers!! I love that first photo. And, I love that poem. It's perfect. It makes me feel the clip of fall even here in the desert where it's still 108 degrees!

ellen abbott said...

I find it depends on the time of the year as to what color is dominant in the garden. also personal taste, what I'm most drawn to when buying new plants, but I do try to have all colors.

Sharon said...

Steve, I did NOT know that his mother was the same person who pushed Tripp into recording Lewinsky. I can see that I need to do a little more research on these speakers as they come up. He talked a lot about how we who live in western societies are living in the best places in the world to live but we are still so unhappy we need to blame others and political systems for our misery. Because of that, we are destroying the very soul of what makes us great. It was an interesting theory that has some truth to it. I don't agree with all of his philosophies but I respected his intelligent arguments.

Anonymous said...

Whenever I see the photos of your garden flowers it makes me want to run outside and photograph our front yard, full of roses, cosmos, alstroemeria, rudbeckia, and lots more that I can hardly remember the names of. The colors of September are so beautiful. Even the tall grasses and fennel have a tired beauty at the end of their season. Love that poem.

The Bug said...

I love pink & purple the best. And red and blue. Orange, yellow & white are ok for contrast. That poem makes me want to write again...

P.S. re: the banana bus - I think it should be that that drivers fight over who GETS to drive it. Ha!

Colette said...

My flower gardens are a mess right now. It is still too hot to get out and weed like crazy, which is what is needed. Soon though. Your photos remind me of why I need to get out there. What a pleasure.

Peace Thyme said...

I think fall or autumn is such a time for reflection. Flowers and trees are letting go. I bet they are thinking of spring, too. People are beginning to be more lovely and bright now that the heat of summer is not clouding up their head. Families are beginning to make plans for those wonderful winter holidays. Yum! I love autumn!

jenny_o said...

Love the first picture. Purples and blues and pinks are my favourites of the flowering world, and there aren't too many blue ones, so purple and pink are my default.

I'm thinking "end a post with the word fjord" would make a good writing challenge :)
I like the poem; it is full of crisp images.

Tara said...

Robin's line about "tired beauty" captures the September garden perfectly. I, too, have had gardens with predominately purple, magenta and blue flowers. I love it. And I love that poem. Takes me back to my days of gardening, wherein I hang up my tools from the day's labors and turn in for the night. Lovely.

Steve Reed said...

Alphie: I didn't research it, but I assumed brisling must be some kind of little sardine or something...?

YP: I can't even imagine how hard it is to translate poetry, given that the sounds and cadences of language are so essential to a poem. I actually thought this wasn't a bad job. There's some music in "meagre glaciers" and "brisling fishers," though obviously I can't compare it to the original Norwegian!

Ms Moon: Ha! That's a funny thing to say. Maybe he had bad memories of an occasion that involved yellow flowers. Like you, I can abide pretty much any flower, I think.

Red: Well, we haven't been socked with snow yet!

E: It's a nice time of year in the garden!

Sharon: Yeah, it's a successful poem in that it definitely carries the feeling of fall. Re. Jonah, it does sound like he's speaking a germ of truth, shrouded though it may be in questionable political perspectives. :)

Ellen: We do have other colors in other locations, and you're right, they change with the seasons. For some reason the area by the back door is particularly thick with pink and purple.

Robin: You should! I would love to see some pictures of your garden!

Bug: Orange flowers are actually some of my favorites. There just aren't that many of them. Someone told me insects respond best to pink and purple, which is why so many flowers carry those colors.

Colette: Florida weeds grow fast! Do you have some mulch down, at least? That will help.

Peace Thyme: Me too! October is one of my favorite times of year.

Jenny-O: Except you could just say "I've never been to a fjord" and leave it at that. Ha!

Tara: That was the image that struck me as well. It seems so homey, hanging up the tools and going inside.

Sabine said...

And now you should travel to a real live fjord. Like Killary Harbour in the west of Ireland. Gorgeous.

Sabine said...

And now you should travel to a real live fjord. Like Killary Harbour in the west of Ireland. Gorgeous.