Friday, April 15, 2011

"what pleasure, what joy"

I'm sorry to say I'm a hopeless gardener: a rushed, confused, procrastinator ... But I did something right a couple of years ago and planted daffodils and grape hyacinths, which are now in bloom in little clumps here and there all around the otherwise barren yard.
I picked this little bouquet for the table when I had my mom over to dinner last night; I couldn't take my eyes of them all through the meal. Which makes me not a great host either!
This is my practice run at it. Seeing what doesn't work for me here, and studying the setup a little more, I think I can do better. Tomorrow.

by C. P. Cavafy
translated by Edmund Keeley

As you set out for Ithaka 
hope your road is a long one, 
full of adventure, full of discovery. 
Laistrygonians, Cyclops, 
angry Poseidon—don't be afraid of them: 
you'll never find things like that on your way 
as long as you keep your thoughts raised high, 
as long as a rare excitement 
stirs your spirit and your body. 
Laistrygonians, Cyclops, 
wild Poseidon—you won't encounter them 
unless you bring them along inside your soul, 
unless your soul sets them up in front of you. 

Hope your road is a long one. 
May there be many summer mornings when, 
with what pleasure, what joy, 
you enter harbors you're seeing for the first time;
may you stop at Phoenician trading stations 
to buy fine things, 
mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony, 
sensual perfume of every kind—
as many sensual perfumes as you can; and may you visit many Egyptian cities 
to learn and go on learning from their scholars. 

Keep Ithaka always in your mind.
Arriving there is what you're destined for. 
But don't hurry the journey at all. 
Better if it lasts for years, 
so you're old by the time you reach the island, 
wealthy with all you've gained on the way, 
not expecting Ithaka to make you rich. 
Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey. 
Without her you wouldn't have set out. 
She has nothing left to give you now. 

And if you find her poor, Ithaka won't have fooled you. 
Wise as you will have become, so full of experience, 
you'll have understood by then what these Ithakas mean. 


Maria's Watercolor said...

Just love the colors in this, so vibrant, look forward to seeing the next version as well.

Suzanne McDermott said...


Carol Blackburn said...

Love the blue glass vase and look forward to the next version too.

cathyswatercolors said...

Ah those colors.I'm in love with the vase. Can't wait to see the next.

Barbara Muir said...

Gorgeous painting and post. Love the poem too.


Unknown said...

Wonderful post and gorgeous painting! Such beautiful lively colors! I also love the daffodils below.

Autumn Leaves said...

I am intrigued by that lovely vase, the water and stems showing through. Well done, Laura!

Blaga said...

Blue and yellow is my favorite combination, most flowers in my yard are in hues of these two colors. So I can see why this bouquet captivated you. Beautiful watercolor!

Nick G. Swift said...

I’m an herb and vegetable gardener. I have trouble painting the delicate flower petals against all the greens, and wind up using gouache or a masking needle pen. You seem to have that more delicate touch with the washes. Enjoy the blog.


A Brush with Color said...

I love your color choices here, Laura, as always. So Lovely! And the poem is new to me--also a gem. Can't wait to see what else you do with them.

Diana said...

Lovely Laura, the colors are fabulous. take care! Diana



Sherry Pierce Thurner said...

I'm enjoying your daffodil paints very much, Laura. Ithica has been a favorite poem for years. Thank you for reminding me of it.