The Flower Can Always Be Changing by Shawna LemayThe Flower Can Always Be Changing by Shawna Lemay

The Flower Can Always Be Changing

byShawna Lemay

Paperback | May 15, 2018

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"A lamp and a flower pot in the center. The flower can always be changing."--Virginia Woolf. From the bestselling author of Rumi and the Red Handbag comes a new collection of brief essays about the intersection of poetry, painting, photography and beauty. Inspired by the words of Virginia Woolf, Lemay welcomes you into her home, her art and her life as a poet and photographer of the every day. Lemay shares visits to the museum with her daughter, the beauty in an average workday at the library, and encourages writers and readers to make an appointment with flowers, with life.
Shawna Lemay is the author of the bestselling novel Rumi and the Red Handbag. She has written six books of poetry, a book of essays, and the experimental novel Hive. All the God-Sized Fruit, her first book, won the Stephan G. Stephansson Award and the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award. Calm Things: Essays was shortlisted for the Wilfred Eg...
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Title:The Flower Can Always Be ChangingFormat:PaperbackDimensions:110 pages, 4.5 × 7 × 0.04 inPublished:May 15, 2018Publisher:Palimpsest PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1926794699

ISBN - 13:9781926794693

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The Flower Can Always Be ChangingThe bonsai, now. Purchased years ago from the hardware store. A wish, a pretension, a desire for peacefulness, with an envious thought to the serious practitioners, precipitated its purchase.Relegated to the basement when it sensed I was not living up to its requirements for emptiness, calm, and a true tenderness. It became too lush and I could not be severe in bringing it back to balance. Years later, it re-emerges. Parts of it have died, irretrievable. Unbalanced but splendid and we understand the elegance of each other's broken loneliness. At the stage where she was dreaming, conjuring, The Waves, Virginia Woolf wrote in her diary, "A lamp and a flower pot in the center. The flower can always be changing." There would be, "...a perpetual crumbling and renewing of the plant. In its leaves she might see things happen. But who is she?" Quickly followed by the wish she remain unnamed. The leaves would most certainly see things happen. I forge a plan that I quickly abandon, to ask women I know about the plants they have on their windowsills, kitchen tables, desks. I imagine receiving answers about geraniums being overwintered, about African violets, and about bouquets of grocery store tulips and about long stemmed, candy-coloured daisies, and roses that deliberately open. Once, someone told me about the aloe vera plant she has on her desk that has vast properties of healing and with which she conducts séances and hearing this made me too delicate. We breathe the plant in and the plant receives our exhalations and our chakras align accordingly. Of course, with Clarice Lispector, I've been thinking about the sadness of flowers in order to feel more fully the order of what exists for a very long time. As Cixous said, we have all lived one or two flowers. We have felt the light of them, the light they attract and which goes right through them, and also the heaviness, the gravity, and we have known, perhaps, as the painter Francis Bacon called it, the violence of roses. Not just the thorns, but the colours changing and bleeding and seeping out of those generous, soft, petals. The way our souls might rise up and speak to flowers, met by flowers, their breathing, the faint breath of them. The pain of finding we can't quite sip, can't quite internalize the answers, to the question of scent. I imagine the pots and vases of flowers on a table near a window in time lapse photography, one that encompasses several years. The first day emerges deliberately. In a veil of morning light, I place a vase of garden roses on the weathered table. The pink-orange petals are so various, each one a slightly different combination of pink fluttering into orange. They have opened under the sun, have been changed by breezes gentle and ardent and arduous. Insects have nibbled and continued on their way. And now the light becomes more diffuse, evens out, brightens, declines again, and then moonlight comes in and bathes the roses, they soften and at the same time become more radiant, full. The leaves droop a little, curl, the water clouds, the edges of the petals wither, turn a greyish brown, and the pinks become less vibrant, and the orange deepens, lessens. They begin to look tattered in the repetition of this cycle, more graceful, more noble. At one point a hand comes into the frame, and shoves the vase from the center of the table to the edge, to the far end. In this way we come to know the unrepeatable secrets of flowers, and then to forget them. We learn opening, opening. And then empty, drunk, we succumb to their heavenly sadness. It is the sadness of flowers that reminds us to keep the secret. The table is empty for several days. The time lapse speeds up. A geranium arrives in a terracotta pot. The stems are thick and gnarled. The plant has lived and lives on in the slips that have been taken. It grows, leaning toward the light through the day, a slow dance. And then the cuttings are removed, and it must grow more leaves, and it does, small sprouts emerge. At which point someone takes it to make room for a gift, a vase of flowers. A ghostly image enters the frame and leaves, which reminds one of security camera footage.