13 January 2010

Flowers in Stony Places

Flowers blooming in stony places, in old walls, on building sites, in desolate urban landscapes, are strangely uplifting. Somehow their splashes of colour or delicacy of form against drab, unfriendly backgrounds seem joyously defiant. A reminder of beauty in broken-ness. Or of the resilience of something as simple as a daisy.

Late last summer in a huge heap of broken concrete at the edge of a car park a sunflower bloomed. It cared not that it wasn't in a garden. No-one had carefully planted and watered and nurtured this seed. Somehow it had ended up amongst the broken slabs, and found just enough space to germinate. It grew straight and tall and vigorous, formed a flower 'sun' and turned it towards the sky. Mum passed it one day when she was feeling particularly sad and lonely. It's cheerful simplicity lifted her mood and restored something to her soul.

A sunflower isn't a complicated plant. Nor is a daisy or a gerbera. They are the kinds of flowers children might easily draw. The more beautiful in broken places because of their simple forms.

There's a poem by John Masefield which I like very much. It's very short, yet thought-provoking:

I have seen flowers come in stony places
And kind things done by men with ugly faces,
And the gold cup won by the worst horse at the races,
So I trust, too.

It's that last line which makes the poem complete. Trusting through difficult, distressing, disappointing, or dispiriting times.
Trusting that a flower will bloom again in a stony place.

1 comment:

  1. Such great writing, Anne, and such a perfect poem. I needed that today.