Saturday, February 27, 2010

Once Upon a Time, a St. David's Day in Italy

My favorite St. David's Day (March 1) memory is a daffodil quest in southern Italy. I was visiting friends for a few weeks, near Naples. One of this delightful duo was shy about his southern accent & still-tentative English. My southern dialect--forget it; "regular Italian" - it kept slipping into French. Our Italian-speaking link was doing something important --foraging for dinner ingredients. Me? Of course, I was obsessed with flowers & on this weekend, daffodils. I forgot the Italian word, if I ever knew it. Finally after squeaking out 'spring, 'yellow,' & I don't remember what else in Italian, S. lit up & said, "trombone?" I, being an ass, said,"No, no. Trombone? What? No that's an instrument in inglese." Finally, slow me, oh. Daffodils. They are trumpet-shaped--ah.

The sight of an older man pretend-playing a horn instrument & a younger, somewhat exasperated English-speaking woman performing the universal hand-to-head circling motion amused a bunch of bored children with no immediate interests except a Saturday gelato. We made a little bow to the kids, & slunk away. After the forager returned, she explained what was what (after laughing a bit too much--ahem), & S. became obsessed with the idea that I should have trombone. I was embarrassed that I had not only called him crazy in a public market, but now I had given him a new mission. He's one of those lovely people around whom one should be careful to express any wish that he could possibly (& maybe not even possibly) fulfill.

Later that evening, as I fussed with the sitting room brazier, tossing in clementine peels to achieve the most fragrant scent, I looked up & there he was in the doorway, holding a gigantic bunch of the longest-stemmed daffodils I'd ever seen. Before or since. I don't know where or when he got them that day, but being an Italian he possessed a sense of the dramatic moment & thus waited for a post-dinner flourish.

Here are some lovely links to a celebration of St. David's Day weekend in Rome (yes, yes), the end of which involves daffodil distribution. Also, here is a link to a current National Museum of Wales exhibit: Italian Memories in Wales.

cariad & ciao

[photograph of Sophia Loren, I should look so good, via If It's Hip, It's Here; Scented Alley in Naples by golden puppy via flickr]

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Week's End - Ode to Rome

John Keats died in Rome on 23 February 1821. I may not post next week but could not let the occasion pass without comment. As reported previously, I have embarrassed at least one relative in the Keats-Shelley House & at the Protestant cemetery. I feel less an idiot upon reading that no less a personage than Oscar Wilde prostrated himself for 25 minutes at the grave. (I'm making my way--at last--through Andrew Motion's biography of Keats.)

Giampaolo Macorig's beautiful photograph would have been Keats's view as he walked on the Pincio those last few months. The image of his signature is from the Keats-Shelley House & the organization's website is looking quite spiffy these days; do take a virtual visit. It's very much a destination for writers (& others) living in & visiting Rome. The story of the acquisition of the house is one of cooperation among Anglophones in Rome. (For once. Ahem.)

And finally, here is a sweet article I just saw in the Observer by a reporter who went to Rome with his girlfriend--in search of Romance (& Keats). It has a much happier ending than that of John & Fanny.

Update: Thursday, 25 Feb. (Read in whiny voice.) If we don't lose power (again!), I'll be back next week. Maybe Saturday.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Carnevale di Venezia - Arancione

In haste & confusion I forgot to post a few photographs from Venice's Carnevale. These are also on the GG (& one leaning to red but still...) From generous waxOr's photostream. Bella, bella. (And you are saved from more Keats & Camus. For now.)

Monday, February 15, 2010

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Lucille Clifton

Come celebrate with me/That every day/Something has tried to kill me/And has failed. ~Lucille Clifton

Beyond upset. Just found out.
Here's a link. Funeral arrangements are pending.
(I'm still in exile but hope to be home later today.) Update: Here's a poem written for Lucille, by Grace Cavalieri.

[photograph via famouspoetsandpoems]

Friday, February 12, 2010

Week's End - Love Minus Zero/No Limit

Song lyrics & photo have no connection. The title popped into my head & it won't go away. Hate when that happens. Good weekend to all. [Blue snow in Vermont photograph by Paul Moody]

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Felinity in Black & White & Color

Writing in heated exile (no not in Hell, you devils). Complicated feelings & I feel some essays (at least one) coming on; a pile of poems to revise. One new one. I couldn't do without Julie, that's for sure. The fuzzy photograph was an attempt to use the new laptop's web camera before we lost all power (& heat). The four-legged redhead has mostly regained her high spirits; however, she has refused a request to hop off the bed for a re-shoot. I don't blame her.

High winds still, maybe some more snow in a day or so. Not thinking about it now. I hope we can go home on the weekend. Our hosts have been great & I've tried to repay in tulips & two dinners cooked (so far). Also I created a little pop art installation of retro mini Coke bottles with pink baby carnations & green button mums (culled from otherwise dead bouquets). All in a row, on a windowsill. It seems to have gone over fairly well.

[Dr. Zhivago still by Ken Danvers, photographer for David Lean's film via Deneuve & Coke bottle via LIFE archives/ridiculous webshot of GG et moi via a Toshiba laptop. The Italian book collage is from a scan I did for Giulia Geranium. Maria Caterina di Perugia gave the book to me on one trip back to the States. Now that we are staying at her house, I thought it would look cute over here. Maybe I've posted it before, we'll see what pops up.]

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Week's End - Capucine in Black & White

NPR just referred to the snowstorm on its way to Washington as "maybe apocalyptic." OK, a news person said it. That's weird (& I hope, incorrect) on so many levels. So, why Capucine? I was thinking about Cortina d'Ampezzo (the reason is too dumb to go into here) & how pretty it is there. The original Pink Panther (Capucine plays Simone Clouseau) has some winter ski scenes & I think they were filmed in Cortina. So maybe it's just that I wish I looked that chic in snow wear. Not sure. Too rattled to think what with an impending snowpocalypse, & so forth. Eek.

Friday afternoon update: OK, here's why I don't watch TV during the day. It's scaring the bleep out of me (thinking power outages, truly would be a disaster). If no week's end by midnight, someone send out a search party of DC bloggers 'cause Julie the Cat & self will be popsicles.

Friday early evening: Power is flickering already & the major blizzard hasn't begun yet. Very bad news. No post tonight. I wish I had Capucine's skis on & I was in Cortina. Click the link & it takes you to a NYTimes article about skiing to restaurants. It was not like that when I was there, I assure you.

Saturday morning update: No power.

Monday update: Julie & I have been in 40 F (or below?) since Friday. No heat for another week. Trying to go somewhere else. Thanks to Julie at Being Ruby & Penney at Just Penney's for msging me. Piggybacking wireless & using a few moments of battery power. I'll have more to say about how angry & upset I am soon. Meanwhile, check on your neighbors, OK? It's not all snowball fights at Dupont Circle. It's a true disaster for many people.

Tuesday update: For those who have messaged me. We were rescued by an urbane Arlingtonienne. Julie the Cat & I are in a lovely home, with heat. Upon our arrival, the power went off-- no doubt because I am a jinx. However this house is fully equipped with electric lanterns, enough flashlights for a battalion, & cheerful folks & a darling cat, Hermione, of whom I have written previously. The power came back on a bit ago & we're madly making market lists, charging cell phones, laptops, etc. & will be cooking up a storm before the next one arrives. Later today. With ice & high winds. Yippee. Ciao, mes amis.

[photographer names soon; found on two Blogger blogs: Loose Leaf Tigers & Sanity Fair. Both rather nice names.]

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Camus on White Roses

The white rose of morning has the fragrance of water and pepper.

That phrase jumped off the page on a recent night of reading; the elegant photograph did the same that next morning. (I really must purchase some goggles.) I have photographs of vases of white roses--somewhere. Soon, I shall have to hold things up to be captured by the laptop web camera. Sigh. On that note, I'm dragging, really. But must drag self out into the snow & across town to attend to the dead keratin sprouting from my head. [photograph by elseachelsea via we heart it]