Friday, March 21, 2014

Fragrance of Azahar-Rowland Thirlmere

The country between Benifayo and Algemesi, which I last saw on a tempestuous November day, literally submerged in a riot of tumbling red waters, surprised us with its opulence. The rich and friable soil is of a fine Indian red, and appears to be capable of producing magnificent fruits and people with equal ease. Its oranges are splendid. Several times we alighted to buy them. The poignant scent of the orange blossom made us hungry for more. It seemed so good to be feeding on the product of flowers that exhaled such sweetness! There was no fear of death in that odour. The smell of ethereal sherry in a bodega first exhilarates, then depresses, and, all conditions being favourable, ultimately kills. Hyacinths in a closed room may subtly slay; the perfume of almond oil may be fatal. Pope Alexander and the other infamous Borgias may have used these poisonous scents, but they could never kill their victims with the orange-flower. Were it possible to die from the inhalation of this fragrance, that is the death I would choose. "Slain by the scent of the azahar" would make a most original verdict for a coroner's jury.

There had been heavy rain,, and the splendid masses of larkspur in the park were somewhat bedraggled, and splashed with mud. The continual breath of roses made the air heavy and relaxing; whilst the still more penetrating odour of the orange blossoms sweetened the atmosphere so much that one's mind became full of an indescribable imaginative tumult, and one's senses seemed to faint in a riot of recollections and anticipations. The quintessential fragrance of old romance pulsed through the delicious air; for the exquisitely fragrant petals of the azahar flowers were drying in the intermittent bursts of sunlight, and, to my mind, there is no bloom in this glorious world with so powerful and so poignant a sweetness as that possessed by the bridal orange-blossom—the azahar of the Moors.

Meadows of the Brandywine- John Russel Hayes


 Meadows of the Brandywine- John Russel Hayes

O, MEMORY, call back the hours
Of childhood's day among the flowers
That grew in gardens sweet and old
Beneath those skies of misty gold
That made the summers seem divine
In meadows by the Brandywine!

Call back the breezes warm and sweet
That drowsed across the yellow wheat
And made the sylvan valleys ring
With music light as dryads sing,
With music faint and faery-fine,
In meadows by the Brandywine!

Dear Memory, call back again
The soft and silver wraiths of rain
That bent the buttercups, and swayed
The sleepy clover-heads, and made
The hosts of dancing daisies shine
In meadows by the Brandywine!

Call back, the glow-worm's elfin fire
That wavered where the marshy choir
Made reedy music ghostly-light
Across the fragrance of the night,
Till lucent stars began to shine
 
O'er meadows by the Brandywine!
0 far, sweet hours, what strange regret
Brings tears for you to-night, while yet
1 would not have your magic be  
More than a dreama dreamto me,  
A dream of vanished hours divine
In meadows by the Brandywine!



Cherry Blossoms Japan
Cherry Blossoms in Japan
Leora B. Lobdell  
No matter how extravagantly the books describe or the pictures portray the cherry blossoms, just believe every shade and tone of it, for it is all beautifully true. This warm April morning has proved how wonderful Japan can be in a rain storm when the cherry blossoms are at their best.
At seven this morning I walked up and down the porch to drink deep the fragrance of it all. There was the spacious garden, bordered by the bamboo hedge, just beyond the narrow street, and on the other side the high fence of our Japanese neighbor. Not a base ball fence, by any means, but a ten-foot fence of neatly woven bamboo topped by a luxuriance of glistening foliage.
An old woman, in a limp kimona, towelled head and bare feet, paddled through the mud bearing a big basket on her back. She was wrinkled and dirty, bent and burdened, but the dainty white cauliflower, with its fresh green leaves peeping above the basket's rim, proved that age and humble condition had not separated the old woman from nature's works of true art.
Just then a young woman came clicking along on her wooden shoes, which lifted her kimona free from the muddy street. Her clean, pretty gray kimona with its bright red sah, her big yellow and black umbrella and her erect figure, showed the brighter side of life in Japan. And how the blossoms greeted them both!
For high over the street, in the warm, bright rain, the cherry blossoms were nodding. They were baby blossoms, pink and frail, cuddling and nodding on the swaying boughs, gracefully greeting their neighboring buds as the rain and the breeze tossed them hither and thither. They seemed to know that the dull gray trees had been lonely a long, long time, so they blush and nod and smile away in the glistening drops of rain, as if to assure all nature that they have a joyous message, that they come to brighten and to bless.
And they are all about us—everywhere. Just behind our house, at the foot of the mountain, is a park full of tiny t?a houses, miniature lakes, splendid old temples and stately pines. Against the magnificent background made by the pine trees are masses of pink cherry blossoms. "Exquisite" is the only word that describes them, and even that is meanly poor, because they have a gracefulness, a color and a daintiness peculiarly their own. All Shidzuoka, and indeed all Japan, is rosy pink just now-masses of bloom greet us on every hand. We do not exclaim; we take them as Heaven's gift to Japan. And such they really are.