The Arts of Spring

Rockport, Texas City Cemetery ~ March 7


This spring as it comes bursts up in bonfires green,
Wild puffing of emerald trees, and flame-filled bushes,
Thorn-blossom lifting in wreaths of smoke between
Where the wood fumes up and the watery, flickering rushes.
I am amazed at this spring, this conflagration
Of green fires lit on the soil of the earth, this blaze
Of growing, and sparks that puff in wild gyration,
Faces of people streaming across my gaze.
And I, what fountain of fire am I among
This leaping combustion of spring? My spirit is tossed
About like a shadow buffeted in the throng
Of flames, a shadow that’s gone astray, and is lost.
                                      “The Enkindled Spring”  ~  D.H. Lawrence




Comments always are welcome..

59 thoughts on “The Arts of Spring

  1. Spring is perhaps the most glorious season of all. I suspect that even those who know of DH Lawrence do so only from “Lady Chatterley’s Lover,” whereas Vivaldi has been a bit of background staple for many without them knowing the composer. Interestingly, one of the questions on “Jeopardy” a few nights ago was, “Which composer was known as The Red Priest?”

    1. Much of Lawrence’s poetry is appealing, and certainly shows his ability to use language in unexpected ways. This is one of my favorite spring poems; the lack of sentimentality is refreshing.

      I’m wondering if you’ve come across the group Red Priest. I wasn’t sure about them at first, but the more I listened, the more I enjoyed their work. Here’s their version of the ‘Allegro’ from Vivaldi’s “Spring.” The recorder player’s ‘bird work’ is fabulous.

  2. Bravo bravo!!
    The image superb, poem supporting and totally divine performance of one of my all time favourite pieces. Great to see it played on period instruments too.
    Thank you!

    1. All of these pieces seemed to fit so nicely; I’m glad you enjoyed them. I especially like this photo. The perspective turned out a little odd, somehow, and it makes the flowers look much larger than they actually were; the angel looks as though she’s sitting in a pretty bower.

    1. Being attentive, informed, and cautious during hard times is important; being obsessed with rumors of impending doom is less helpful, particularly when profit$ of doom are involved. All of us need a lift at this point, and how wonderful it is that the arts can provide that.

    1. I like both spring and autumn, probably because they’re times of transition and great change. Last week, the cypress trees here were leafless when I left for work in the morning. When I came home at night, every one of them had leafed out. We need to keep looking — the changes are coming fast.

      1. I have a hawthorn bush I palnted at the bottom of the garden some years ago and have noticed how some of the leaves are suddenly springing open from the buds. Autumn is my second favourite season. I like the light in both seasons, not too harsh and not too dull, and like you say they’re times of transition and great change.

  3. D.H Lawrence put some original metaphors into this poem. I’d never have imagined sparks and trees puffing, nor spring greenery as flames. In 1968 I visited Mexico City for the first time and stayed in the old (and Peace-Corps-volunteer-cheap) Hotel Monte Carlo where D.H. Lawrence did some of his writing in the 1920s. Strangely, cars would drive right through the lobby to reach a parking area.

    1. When I first discovered this poem, I had to stop, back up, and re-read some of the lines several times. The imagery is unusual: creative and original as Dylan Thomas’s “the force that through the green fuse drives the flower drives my green age.”

      I noticed one photo on your linked page about the Hotel Monte Carlo that shows motorcyles passing through the lobby. That’s creative, too; adapting older architecture to new times.

  4. This is one of your most beautiful photos. And thank you for “Spring,” my favorite movement from the Four Seasons.

    Finding the beauty in our world right now matters more than we know. Thank you for sharing it, Linda. I know in many ways it isn’t easy these days. Hang tight.

    1. The photo came out differently, and better, than I’d expected. It’s sort of a mashup of Botticelli and Henri Rousseau ~ a little odd, but appealing. Somehow the perspective makes the flowers seem larger than they are; she seems to be sitting among life-size flowers. I didn’t notice at first that there were strings on the harp at one time. They’re mostly gone, but you still can see them hanging down if you click the image twice to enlarge it.

      Beauty’s always important, but never more so than at times like these. I’ve been amused to realize yet another benefit of my move to this new apartment. If we are afflicted with a total lockdown, I have my birds and squirrels to watch. I made a trip to Wild Birds Unlimited yesterday and picked up extra seed for them. They seem to be grateful, and I’m happy to have them chirping around: a Vivaldi-like cadenza.

  5. The older dude on the theorbo. He’s my favorite. That’s quite a harpsichord. I’m glad we’ve preserved (and cherished) the original instruments along with the music written for it. The Well Tempered Clavichord on the piano just doesn’t cut it, I’m afraid.

    Vivaldi taught music at a foundling’s home to equip them with a way to earn a living as musicians. He composed many pieces for the foundling home’s all-girl musical ensemble. He was taught the violin as a child because he had asthma and could not play a woodwind instrument. (When he became a priest, he also had a special dispensation from saying mass, probably for the same reason.)

    1. Isn’t he great? And you’re right about the importance of preserving and performing with original instruments. I was introduced to The Well-Tempered Clavier through Glenn Gould’s piano recordings, and I also remember how impressed I was the first time I heard the music played on harpsichord. I think I’ve mentioned the Noack organ at Christ the King in Houston. Our Bach Society often performs there, and the music is grand. I think I remember that the organ at “your” church also was built according to those older specifications.

      Vivaldi’s life was interesting. Somehow I missed knowing that he had asthma. That certainly would make a stringed instrument a better choice.

  6. I never tire of your Spring photos, Linda! They give me hope that, even in the midst of everything that’s going on right now, Spring really will arrive, and we’ll welcome it with open arms.

    1. I’ve been blessed to see some wonderful sights this spring, and I hope to see more. The good news is that outdoor activities still are available to us, both for physical and psychological well-being. Best of all, the weather gurus are predicting an entire week of sunshine ahead of us. I can’t wait!

    1. Exactly right, GP. And after spring will come summer, and then the fall. I’m willing to hope that by autumn we’ll be past all this, and the number of those afflicted will have fallen off sharply. In the meantime, we cope — like so many of those in previous generations that you write about.

    1. Some day maybe you’ll be able to visit here and see our wonderful spring. Many of the best sights I’ve seen in the past couple of years have been west and south of San Antonio, which makes it all just a little closer to you. The best news I’ve seen is that we have a week of sunny weather coming. If there’s anything I like more than roaming the country in sunshine, it’s working in sunshine. Next week, I’m taking my camera to work to see if I can get some nice shots of the swallows that have taken to perching on the lines of the boat I’m working on.

      1. I would love to visit Texas in the spring, not only for the flowers, but also for the birds–especially for the birds. I hear migration is phenomenal.
        May you find much sun and many cooperative motifs this coming week.

        1. The spring fallout is phenomenal. It’s a shame that the annual Galveston Featherfest has had to be cancelled because of the virus. Birders come from all over the world to see it — but not this year.

    1. I didn’t know that Lawrence lived in Australia, Gerard. I went to look for the location of Thirroul, and per usual I got lost while looking at the map. The place names in your country fascinate me. Today I found ‘Bronte’ and ‘Wollstonecraft’ along with some interesting names that clearly are aboriginal.

      The article you linked to is intriguing, and made me want to read Kangaroo, which I’m going to do — just as soon as I get the Kindle app installed on my iPad. I usually prefer a real book, but the Kindle price is right: free.

  7. Vivaldi’s “Spring” is the perfect accompaniment for the season’s arrival. It’s a favorite piece of genius and cannot be heard too much. That said, not everyone agrees. Apparently Stravinsky was not impressed and said that Vivaldi wrote one concerto 500 times.That’s fine with me.

    I’ve not really thought of spring as bursting in flames but in a way that is true. Here it seems to crawl in slowly before the burst. In Texas there is an eruption.

    1. Well, I’m not that impressed with Stravinsky, so there. I’m a great fan of Vivaldi generally, but if I had to make choices, T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets and Vivaldi’s The Seasons would do me just fine.

      I really was impressed with Lawrence’s imagery here. I’ve never thought of the growth of spring as green flames, either, but now I’m seeing it everywhere. As for eruptions, I saw one last week. When I left for work one morning, all of our cypress trees still were bare-limbed. When I came home that night, every one of them had leafed out. It still amazes me that they all do it at the same time. I wonder if they send out a memo?

  8. Omg, seriously excited here! Is there any possibility of (definitely need; ) a list of the flowers in your photo added to the post please Linda? I found the blue flower in your (fabulous, by the way!) composition growing wild and brought it home several years ago but still have not gotten a confirmed ID… It’d be absolutely wonderful if you could tell me who she is!

    1. I’ll do better than that. I have some photos of individual flowers to post, and that’s one of them. They’re called blue curls: Phacelia congesta. I doubt that you have this species, but there are many Phacelia species that look similar. One that grows in northern states is P. franklinii, for example. Later today I’ll dig up one of the close-up photos and post here for you.

      1. And you’re right, this is not the same; the flowers on mine grow in clusters more like a bouquet, not the (wonderful!) ‘fiddle head’ configuration of P franklinii and the colour morphs from blue to blue-mauve-pink as they mature (and are stunning during the golden hour at sunrise/sunset!) Very similar colour way as that of a perennial Cranesbill Geranium I also have here.

    2. And – the name’s been bugging me since I first started looking at this pic – Shepherd’s Purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris) is the white one with the lovely heart-shaped seeds.

      1. After looking, I’m not sure about that. While Shepherd’s purse (an invasive) is common across Texas, it’s not shown for the Rockport area. Of course, absence on a map isn’t necessarily absence in reality. I know of a place relatively close where I can find what I think the white one is. Again, more research is required, and some better photos.

    1. I’m not sure what that vining plant is. It doesn’t have the leaves of any of the vetches I’m familiar with. More research is necessary — if I find it, I’ll let you know.

        1. I see we have several Vicia species, but not this one. It’s flowers certainly are dramatic. Right now, our roadsides are beginning to glow lavender with the low-growing milkvetch (Astragalus spp.) So pretty!

          1. Not really sure as I’ve never actually seen Buttonbush in person. But I’m pretty sure that’s a bit of Goldenrod flower in the lower left corner, if that helps for scale?

    1. Oh, dear. I just looked at your weather forecast, and it doesn’t look much better. At least I don’t see any freeze: almost, but no icicles. I suppose it wouldn’t help to tell you I found the first water lilies of the season this weekend, would it? Be of good cheer — it’s almost April!

  9. I like the angel w/ harp. I like the way it looks amidst all the flowers. It’s great that you have such nice cemetery in Texas.

    DH Lawrence’s poems are really interesting to read, since I mostly knew his short stories and novels.

    1. We actually have several cemeteries I know of that bloom like this, and there probably are more. I’d planned to visit some this spring, but now I just count my blessings that i got to this one before the travel restrictions arrived. There still are places to visit, but the ones I was especially interested in seeing would require an overnight stay, and a hotel/motel/b&b isn’t a good idea just now.

      I was surprised when I finally came across Lawrence’s poems, since I’d associated him solely with his novels. There are several that I very much like.

  10. That must be one of the more picturesque cemeteries around. Is it all overgrown with flowers or does it have more typical cemetery sections as well?

    1. The whole place is awash with flowers. A few sections don’t have quite as many, but the difference seems to be natural. There’s no mowing done until the end of the season. What’s really interesting is the variety; some sections are all bluebonnets and coreopsis, while other sections have wine cups and pink primrose, or white prickly poppy. A little later this year (or perhaps even now) the Galveston cemeteries will flower, too. I need to check that out this weekend.

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