August 15, 2006

Ode

Sparky (Wally Torta) has another marathon going, this time for paintings and poems about them (or vice versa.) As it happened, back in 1993 I belonged to a gallery that had the same idea and requested paintings and poems for a show. At that time I was having a love-hate relationship with a bougainvillea I'd planted so it's showy flowers could be seen from our breakfast room, but unfortunately was also too close to a narrow walkway, so the thorny branches (which grew with remarkable abondon) seemed always out to get me.

The painting, 30x40, was an attempt at plein air, something I've never gotten the hang of. At the time, I was experimenting with watercolor techniques with acrylics on canvas. I imagine there is a better image of it in my slide file, but you get the idea...
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ODE TO AN ERRANT BOUGAINVILLEA

Waving wildly in the wind,
Thrusting thorn-laced branches in
The path of one who came to find
A secret known to few.

Not petals here that loudly call
And wrap around what's very small.
Within those three-part brackets hide
True flowers deep inside.

Magenta clusters call me near
To scentless beauty I don't fear
Unless these boughs begin to dance
To rhythms I can't hear.

Go flail your arms and make a racket,
Boast the beauty in your brackets,
Catch me once more and I'll hack it
Right down to the ground!

A gardner knows to trim and groom,
That wild things can't have all the room.
But train? Contain? This plant, not ever!
With threats to prune...it blooms.

Karen Jacobs, 1993


4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Karen,

I check out Sparky's blog almost everyday. --Makes me Smile-- I can appreciate your painting and poem, as I also have those "thrusting thorn-laced branches" in my back yard.

Linda S.--wondering why the cool front did not make it all the way here.

meno said...

Having tangled with bougainvillea myself, your poem made me laugh.

paula said...

I love bougainvillea's and miss them so (Living up north, now), even though they can be painful with those thorns--ouch! Love your painting. Thanks for sharing.

KJ said...

I miss the plant as well... the potted variety just isn't the same and be darned if I'd move it in and out each winter... those thorns ya'know. Was delighted to have the opportunity to air out the poem again... glad you enjoyed.