Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Sweet mystery

What is more mysterious than life, than the intricacies of nature? This fern captivated me from the moment I noticed it in the garden of my late mother-in-law. Her name, too, was Fern.


The writer in me sees: A fairy's chariot. A creature from a distant planet. A deep sea being, like an octopus, curling into itself when flung upon land. A mystery waiting to unfold.


I love that my eyes, my mind, take these leaps. And I know that helps my writing.

I'm currently two-thirds done with my fairy tale WIP and ready to take the giant leap into the climax and resolution, where all the complex, mysterious threads come together. I've been hearing the characters' dialogue for weeks. I haven't written down these confrontations, because I see them, I know them. They are developing, waiting to unfold and will be there when I need them.


Here is another view of a fern frond unfolding. This one looks like an upside down seahorse, doesn't it?

Fern loved the sea, lived by it most of her life. She also loved literature but rarely let anyone see her writings, her words scribbled on backs of envelopes, scraps of lined paper or sometimes typed.

After she died, my daughter found a folder of her writings with a note (on an envelope) to me. It read, "Did I ever show you, I think not, these poor, few travesties of lyric songs. You may see them, dear."


A moment, please. My eyes tear, my heart aches. I do miss her.


Since April is National Poetry month, I'll share one of Fern's poems, hoping that I found the most finished draft she wrote.


She called it No Myth.


Forewarned, Psyche dared not find

the face of Love in light,

nor flare of discontent which might

unseat that lord; no sight

reveal if he be radiant or foul.

And yet he knows her contour,

slant and color of the eye,

her soul, computerized,

conditioned, tidied, tamed,

claimed, tuned to die,

he shoots the shaft, reversed, towards home.

Did she risk an open query,

haggle over price to pay,

trade, while tugging at Love's sleeve,

deceit for immortality?

Or make that godly, girlish move

aware, sure, pure in sin,

knowing lone Beauty, Love

needs not consort with Truth to win.


Thank you, Fern, for opening my eyes to so much, to the magic and the truth all around us.


(once again, I cross my fingers that Blogger won't make too much mess of the paragraph spacing)


Char said...

gorgeous shots - i'm always obsessed with the unfurling of a fern. (i love that sound - unfurling)

lovely thoughts about ferns too

Liza said...

The ferns in my sister's garden stopped me short last week, though not so still as this blog post...the unfurling plants and Ferns unfurling words. So glad you shared them.

Unknown said...

Both Ferns are lovely. Thank you.

Bish Denham said...

The photos a lovely, the poem stunning! That Fern left you some of her writings shows how well she loved and trusted you.

Donna said...

Lovely ode to Fern(s).

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Char: Unfurling is a word that trips lightly on the tongue. Thanks so much for stopping by.

Liza: Oh, thank you for these words, my friend.

Laraine: I am so pleased to hear this. :)

Bish: You made me tear up some more! It means so much to me that she wanted me to have them.

Donna: Thank you, friend.

storyqueen said...

There is something magical and haunting about a small scribbled note upon a folder of words.

I think I would be honored to be a recipient of such a wondrous thing.

Thank you so much for sharing.


(Yay for the final third!!)

VR Barkowski said...

Stunning photographs and what lovely words. Fern honored you with her writings, and you, her, with your tribute. Beautiful post, thank you.

Wen Baragrey said...

What beautiful words she left you, such a treasure. How sad that she never shared her work, it's wonderful.

Ferns are close to my (and every NZer's) heart. Our national plant is the silver fern and ferns of all types are everywhere here. We call that furled shape the Koru. It's central to a lot of Maori design. I love them, they're so full of possibility.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Shelley: It gives me goose bumps sometimes to look at that scrawled note, not knowing how long ago she stuck it with the folder. I am so honored and moved that she wanted me to have those bits of her creativity.
And I am SO excited to have written Part III on my manuscript. The home stretch!

V: Oh, thank you. It's funny how a post grows. I saw the fern unfurling. I shot the pictures. I wondered what I would say and then thought of her and pulled out the folder. It all felt right.

Wen: It is sad. She had high standards for everything, and that probably kept her from sharing them, afraid like we all are that we're not good enough.
Wow, I'm fascinated to learn that about ferns in NZ. I'll have to look up some Maori designs and find them. That is so cool.

Wen Baragrey said...

I guess that just means that she left you an even more special gift, because it was only for you. That's pretty amazing, really :)

Here's a little info on Koru in NZ and how it gets used:

And here's a site with bone art. It's huge here, both with NZers and with tourists. I have a carving Emily gave me once and wear it all the time. Mine is made from obsidian. Usually they're bone or greenstone (NZ Jade).

The Koru shows up everywhere here :)

Linda Kage said...

Amazing ferns! I could definitely see the chariot. To me, the second looked like an irate caterpiller, unfurling to yell at your for taking its picture!

And as usually, your poetry is so soothing and liliting and outstanding. Happy Poetry month!

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Wen: Yeah, it is very special to be left something like that.
I am fascinated by the Koru and bone art. So cool.

Linda: An irate caterpillar! It does. I love that. :)
The poem is Fern's, not mine, just to be sure everyone know that.

Jemi Fraser said...

That fern looks more like fauna than flora! Beautiful :)

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Jemi: What a great observation!

Lisa Gail Green said...

Beautiful as always. It makes me want to write a poem, which I haven't done in a while. But my new WIP is poetic in nature I think, a bit.

Sherrie Petersen said...

What a lovely gift she left for you! When I first opened this post I thought it was an octopus :)

Phoenix said...

Beautiful. Thank you for sharing your photos, your heart, and Fern's poetry with us. All of them are gorgeous, and I'm so grateful every time I read your posts that I know you.

Maria Cisneros Toth Blog said...

Wow.... I am in complete awe of Fern and her poem. It's obvious that she loved, cared, and trusted you with all of her heart. And your photographs are beautiful...I saw an octopus. And I can hardly wait to hear the climax of your story!

P.S. Can I adopt Bane?

Paul Greci said...

Recently I was in Hawaii and saw fiddle heads several feet long, their curled ends the size of frisbees. Definitely other worldly looking.

Unknown said...

What a wonderful legacy to leave behind! She had a wonderful way with words. I do love the fern as well.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

LisaG: I love that your new WIP is poetic. I tried a challenge to write a scene in verse and really had fun doing that.

Sherrie: I know, it does look like one!

Tracy: Now, I'm tearing up again. Thank you so much.

Maria: Bane would love to live with you, but I'm not sure what would happen to your other pooches!

PaulG: Wow, I may have to go back to Hawaii just to scout out those fiddlenecks. Nature is so fascinating.

Clarissa: It is a wonderful gift. I'll be forever grateful.

Sarah Laurence said...

I enjoyed your analogy of ferns to a WIP and how you tied that to memories of a departed friend. This post and her poem is a lovely memorial.

Robyn Campbell said...

Pat, this stopped me in my tracks. Unbelievably breathtaking.

Equally breathtaking is your mother-in-law's poem. I so enjoyed it, my friend. Thank you for letting us peek into your mother-in-law's life just a bit. Lovely.

I love seeing it as a fairy's chariot too. (((hugs)))

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

So much beauty in this post. Thank you for sharing. ;)

Suzanne Casamento said...

Wow. The metaphor of the actual fern unfolding and finding Fern's writing - stunning. Funny how life gives you those little gifts, if you're open to seeing them. It's a lot to think about.

Thank you for sharing.