Monday, April 1, 2013

Some spring cleaning and an explanation.

In case I haven't been clear enough, it's spring! And what better time than now for some cleanup over here on Flowers are Lovely?

The cleanup process started last night as one project: updating my header. It's been a while since I'd changed anything around and for months it had been bugging me that the former photo was from a trip to San Francisco, which is in no way a reflection of my life since I don't live there (though I tried, le sigh). But then I added a link to my Instagram. And then I realized I hadn't put any DIYs on the top tab ince, gasp!, last summer. And then I just tweaked and tweaked a few things and here we are.

As I was Photoshopping my new header, I got to thinking and realized I have never explained the origin of my "Flowers are Lovely" name. To understand where this came from, we'll have to go back a few years (more than I'd care to admit), to my senior year of high school when I was in AP English Language with my all-time favorite teacher, Mrs. Atwell.

In this class, we were learning the various figures of speech that make our language so beautiful: alliteration, assonance, merism, synesis, synechdoche. One in particular was called "chiasmus," which by definition is a verbal pattern in which the second half of an expression is balanced against the first with the parts reversed. Makes complete sense, yeah?

Anyway, one of the examples Mrs. Atwell used came from a Samuel Taylor Coleridge poem called "Youth and Age." The line is:

     Flowers are lovely; Love is flower-like;
     Friendship is a sheltering tree;
     O! the joys, that came down shower-like,
     Of Friendship, Love, and Liberty

Beautiful, isn't it? I like to think chiasmus is the colliding of two ideas that are essentially the same thing. Or something. Either way, I've always thought that poem, and specifically the "flowers are lovely" line, was just so beautifully and elegantly written that it sort of stuck with me over the years.

In 2009 when I began crafting and thinking of writing this little old blog of mine, Coleridge's words, so graciously introduced to me by Mrs. Atwell, infused my mind and a blog was born. So here we are, four years later. I hope I inspire some of you with my posts.

And now I leave you with the entire poem, "Youth and Age" by Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

Verse, a breeze mid blossoms straying,
Where Hope clung feeding, like a bee—
Both were mine! Life went a-maying
    With Nature, Hope, and Poesy,
        When I was young!

When I was young?—Ah, woful When!
Ah! for the change ’twixt Now and Then!
This breathing house not built with hands,
This body that does me grievous wrong,
O’er aery cliffs and glittering sands,
How lightly then it flashed along:—
Like those trim skiffs, unknown of yore,
On winding lakes and rivers wide,
That ask no aid of sail or oar,
That fear no spite of wind or tide!
Nought cared this body for wind or weather
When Youth and I lived in’t together.

Flowers are lovely; Love is flower-like;
Friendship is a sheltering tree;
O! the joys, that came down shower-like,
Of Friendship, Love, and Liberty,
        Ere I was old!
Ere I was old? Ah woful Ere,
Which tells me, Youth’s no longer here!
O Youth! for years so many and sweet,
’Tis known, that Thou and I were one,
I’ll think it but a fond conceit—
It cannot be that Thou art gone!

Thy vesper-bell hath not yet toll’d:—
And thou wert aye a masker bold!
What strange disguise hast now put on,
To make believe, that thou are gone?
I see these locks in silvery slips,
This drooping gait, this altered size:
But Spring-tide blossoms on thy lips,
And tears take sunshine from thine eyes!
Life is but thought: so think I will
That Youth and I are house-mates still.

Dew-drops are the gems of morning,
But the tears of mournful eve!
Where no hope is, life’s a warning
That only serves to make us grieve,
        When we are old:
That only serves to make us grieve
With oft and tedious taking-leave,
Like some poor nigh-related guest,
That may not rudely be dismist;
Yet hath outstay’d his welcome while,
And tells the jest without the smile.

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