OK, I was going downstairs to do our prescribed watering for today (we have had water restrictions here in Sydney for quite some time) when Annette asked me, as you do, to rummage up a copy of Shelley’s 'Adonais'. (The only online copy I could find that included the Preface is here at good old Project Gutenberg, along with a heap of other prefatory material before you get the ‘the’ preface.). She’d heard something on the steam radio about Keats and Shelley and the Protestant cemetery in Rome. She’s been to Rome way back but at the time she wouldn’t have been interested in anything Protestant (not now neither, probably, unless I kind of count).
Anyway, back on track. She’s been long interested in cemeteries of all kinds (I was being unfair above) and her exhibition last year, The Romance of Death, was a series of photographs taken in Paris cemeteries (see her site or this and this page).Today, she was interested in Shelley’s preface to the poem rather than the poem itself, allied to the fact that Keats was rather taken by the kinds of flowers he would be buried amongst.
It got me thinking of two things. One being that I recall seeing (on the news many thousands of years ago – I wonder if anyone else does?), that after the death of Brian Jones, at the Stones concert in Hyde Park (Hyde Park London, that is), Mick Jagger read from 'Adonais' and they released butterflies.
And as I was watering the garden, pleased that one of the gardenias is flowering again, and listening to the morning bird chorus of (Australian) ravens, magpies and (pied) currawongs (listen to those sounds as mp3 here or as .ram here to get the drift). I wondered – what is it with poets and birds, and flowers (and butterflies - aside from the 'gay' aspect)? The song, the flight, the colours, the scent, the layers?
I'm not sure I've ever seen a skylark, by the way, or heard a nightingale. But, sure, roses, I've seen plenty of them. Bit hard to grow in this city unless you're a little obsessive but, definitely, plenty of those. I suppose a sick bottlebrush wouldn't quite cut it.