japonisme: anonymous as weeds (the calendars)

09 March 2010

anonymous as weeds (the calendars)


Some--the ones with fish names--
grow so north
they last a month, six weeks at most.
Some others,
named for the fields they look like,
last longer, smaller.

And these, in par- ticular, whether trout or corn lily,
onion or bell- wort, just cut
this morning and standing open in tapwater in the kitchen,
will close with the sun.

It is June, wildflowers on the table.
They are fresh an hour ago,
like sliced lemons,
with the whole day ahead of them.
They could be common mayflower lilies of the valley,

day lilies, or the clus- tering Cana- da, large, gold,
long-stemmed as pasture roses, belled out over the vase--
or maybe Solomon's seal, the petals
ranged in small toy pairs

or starry, tipped at the head like weeds.
They could be anonymous as weeds.
They are, in fact,
the several names of the same thing,
lilies of the field, butter-and-eggs,

toadflax almost, the way the whites and yellows juxtapose,
and have
"the look of flowers that are looked at,"
rooted as they are in water,
glass, and air.
I remember the summer
I picked everything,

flower and wildflower,
singled them out in jars
with a name attached. And when they had dried as stubborn
as paper I put them on pages and named them again.
They were all lilies, even the hyacinth,

even the great pale flower in the hand of the dead.
I picked it, kept it in the book for years
before I knew who she was,
her face lily-white, kissed and dry and cold.

Stanley Plumly

From Summer Celestial by Stanley Plumly.
Copyright © 1983 by Stanley Plumly.

who doesn't sign their work? who will deliberately remain anonymous? we can assume that some artists-for-hire are not allowed to identify themselves, but that leads to a situation like this one. there's no agreement as to who the artist is in these lovely, graceful, works.

one website claims that the piece was done by leo- poldo metlicovitz, but the other sites i could find representing this claimed the artist as 'unknown.' this is one of the most consistent sets of japan-inspired work i've seen. how might i find more by this artist?

this whole set is available here. the description is as follows: "7.1 x 13.4 inches (18 x 34 cm); lithograph, backed on linen."

as for my ques- tions ... well ... tomor- row is ano- ther day. but let us give a moment for the silent creators who still have the power to move us 101 years later.

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Blogger Sabine said...

A very up to date look!

21 March, 2010 13:57  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

oh that's an interesting comment, sabine. yes, somehow they are so simple that most of them could be from any time.

21 March, 2010 14:18  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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26 March, 2010 13:12  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

how lovely! thank you very much!

26 March, 2010 15:41  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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18 April, 2010 05:08  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

thank you very much-- that's so kind of you to say. glad you're here.

18 April, 2010 07:06  

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