THE POEMS OF OUR CLIMATE I Clear water in a brilliant bowl, Pink and white carnations. The light In the room more like a snowy air, Reflecting snow. A newly-fallen snow At the end of winter when afternoons return. Pink and white carnations - one desires So much more than that. The day itself Is simplified: a bowl of white, Cold, a cold porcelain, low and round, With nothing more than the carnations there. II Say even that this complete simplicity Stripped one of all one's torments, concealed The evilly compounded, vital I And made it fresh in a world of white, A world of clear water, brilliant-edged, Still one would want more, one would need more, More than a world of white and snowy scents. III There would still remain the never-resting mind, So that one would want to escape, come back To what had been so long composed. The imperfect is our paradise. Note that, in this bitterness, delight, Since the imperfect is so hot in us, Lies in flawed words and stubborn sounds.
In the beginning we start with roses. The king's flower right? Only they wilt in less than a day, especially when exposed to the elements. But Carnations? Oh, what a beautiful flower. They come in every color. True, some are painted, but that doesn't mean they are less beautiful, and they never wilt.
When I was living in Mexico and writing a book called 'Aztec,' I had to make a deliberate effort to ignore a lot of the 'typically Mexican landscape' around me - banana and citrus groves, roses and carnations, burros and toros - because they did not exist in Mexico in the 15th century, the time of my book.
I believe that virtually everyone has the ability to either grow some food at home, or to find an appropriate location to start a garden. I may sound like a kook who plants my landscape with cucumbers instead of carnations, peppers instead of petunias, and fruit trees rather than ficus, but I am convinced that wherever you go, you can grow food! Now is the time for us to join together and plant the seeds that will transform the places in which we live.
This time is difficult, wait for me: we will live it out vividly. Give me your small hand: we will rise and suffer, we will feel and rejoice. We are once more the pair who lived in bristling places, in harsh nests in the rock. This time is difficult, wait for me with a basket, with a shovel, with your shoes and your clothes. Now we need each other not only for the carnations' sake, not only to look for honey: we need our hands to wash with and to make fire, and so let our difficult time stand up to infinity with four hands and four eyes.
I stopped in front of a florist's window. Behind me, the screeching and throbbing boulevard vanished. Gone, too, were the voices of newspaper vendors selling their daily poisoned flowers. Facing me, behind the glass curtain, a fairyland. Shining, plump carnations, with the pink voluptuousness of women about to reach maturity, poised for the first step of a sprightly dance; shamelessly lascivious gladioli; virginal branches of white lilac; roses lost in pure meditation, undecided between the metaphysical white and the unreal yellow of a sky after the rain.
Then on quaint pedestals and Terminal Gods and gracious pilasters of every sort, were shell-like vases of excessive fruits and flowers that hung about and burst over the edges and could never be restrained. The orange-trees and myrtles, looped with vermilion sashes, stood in frail porcelain pots, and the rose-trees were wound and twisted with superb invention over trellis and standard. Upon one side of the terrace a long gilded stage for the comedians was curtained off with Pagonian tapestries, and in front of it the music-stands were placed. The tables arranged between the fountain and the flight of steps to the sixth terrace were all circular, covered with white damask, and strewn with irises, roses, kingcups, colombines, daffodils, carnations and lilies; and the couches, high with soft cushions and spread with more stuffs than could be named, had fans thrown upon them, and little amorous surprise packets.