Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Day 774: Glad for Gladiolis

Gorgeous gladiolis are in season right now and I have a bunch at home that have me reeling in daily delight. Each morning, there are new blossoms opened out on their tall stalks, like ever-reaching floral beanstalks.  The endearing term 'glads' says it all in this poem - they truly are flowers to be glad of.

And did you know? Gladioli are named for the shape of their leaves - from the Latin word 'gladius' meaning sword (as in gladiator). Symbolizing strength and moral integrity, according to the language of flowers gladioli also represent infatuation, with a bouquet conveying to a recipient that they pierce the giver’s heart with passion. Ah. 

Gladioli - Gottfried Benn

(translated by Michael Hofmann)

A bunch of glads,
certainly highly emblematic of creation,
remote from frills of working blossom with hope of fruit:
slow, durable, placid,
generous, sure of kingly dreams.

All else is natural world and intellect!
Over there the mutton herds:
strenuous ends of clover and daggy sheep—
here friendly talents,
pushing Anna to the center of attention,
explaining her, finding a solution!

The glads offer no solution:
you mustn’t count the days—
livid, tattered, or beautiful.

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