Developing “Little Evening Lily”

Gladiolus liliaceus, 12 September 2020. Copyright 2020 Forgotten Fields. All rights reserved.
The reddish-brown variant of Gladiolus liliaceus—also known as the Aandpypie (Afrikaans, “Little Evening Pipe”), Ribbokblom (Afrikaans, “Rhebok-flower”) or Large Brown Afrikaner—its petals still tinged with purple, the colour it assumes at sundown with a mesmerising scent to attract pollinators, often until late morning. Photographed 12 September 2020.

Four separate poems are emerging from the “Little Evening Lily” sketch. They are variations on the same theme, born from the many stanza experiments whilst developing the composition.

It should come as no surprise that there is such an outpouring of verse on the subject—the lily in question, Gladiolus liliaceus, is my favourite flower1—but, I am nonetheless amazed.

I am also intimidated, as I wonder whether the four poems will be worthy of their subject, and frustrated, as this further delays the anthology’s completion (likely by four months, given my pace)2.

  1. If I might do a little introspection: I associate Gladiolus liliaceus with the joy of my mother in spring (September to November in my country, South Africa) when it appears in the wild. Moreover, it evokes the happiest time of my childhood at age eight and nine in the Babilonstoring Valley—of which I have written before in “This September”, “This October”, “This November” and “A Return to the Valley”—when I recall her displaying the lilies on the kitchen table of the little labourer’s cottage we inhabited at the time, its intoxicating fragrance filling the room at night.
  2. I typically spend a month on a poem.

Another Poem Completed

The lily that inspired the sketch I shall develop next, “Little Evening Lily”, filmed 19 October 2018.

I have completed “Bliss”—developed under the working title “That Is All”—a vignette of rural sights and sounds. Its cheerful theme is far removed from the solemn work that inspired it—“Dis Al” by Jan F. E. Celliers—but it does follow its rhythm.1

I shall now develop “Little Evening Lily”, a sketch in praise of my beloved Gladiolus liliaceus. Encountering a specimen in mid-spring 2018, I fell in love with the flower anew, rediscovering its beauty and role in cultivating my appreciation of flora.

  1. Iambic dimetre: “dudda DUM dudda DUM / dudda DUM dudda DUM” and so forth.
Poetry Publication Progress (2020-11-17)

It is late spring in the Overberg (the southernmost region of South Africa) and whilst many waysides yet are in bloom1, others are high with wild oats. In the early evening, they sway in the breeze as the sun makes gold of the stubble on the hills.

  1. On Friday (13 November 2020), when the photograph below was taken, I happened upon a swath of Lobelia erinus, Ornithogalum strictum and even Micranthus tubulosus.
Rhebok Road, 13 November 2020. Copyright 2020 Forgotten Fields. All rights reserved.