Vines And Rubies

 

'...But still the Vine her ancient ruby yields,
    And still a Garden by the Water blows.'

The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám


'The countless gold of a merry heart,
The rubies and pearls of a loving eye,
The indolent never can bring to the mart,
Nor the secret hoard up in his treasury.'

William Blake


'Give crowns and pounds and guineas
But not your heart away;
Give pearls away and rubies,
But keep your fancy free.'

A.E. Housman


Recital In Red

 

Crimson crayon, satin-bright, picked from looped array
gleefully slicked on crinolines of Christmas, Firebird, Red Shoes
red-cloaked little maids hoodwinked by vixens in eerie woods

Fancies spun from fire sparks speckling the chimney
red glow of ravines bringing tinder to life
tantalising tales and runes read in the embers

Pied Piper sporting tunic of scarlet and saffron
cherry-cheeked children limned by Miss Attwell
ruby rosehip syrup measured out in stainless spoons

Florid Empire apple, long treasured in tissue
polished on pinafore, a gift from the cupboard
a secret stash of praline crisp in winking foil

Garnet arils in a pomegranate, pin-forked and tasted
poppies by the wayside, blood-splashed among the corn
naked osiers carmine-sketched on February skies

Tomatoes on the vine, beetroot bubbling in the pan
tinctured deeper than claret and bottled plums and damsons
paraded in the pantry next to Red Leicester cheese

Sentinel postbox flagging up communication
marking red letter days that memories are made of
rose-red party frock and incipient romance

Renaissance red of winter wedding, anthurium bouquet
flamenco red of Carmen's garb and firefly cigarette girls
flirty skirts of gypsy troupe at La Traviata ball

Fire-opal dawns, travel, Ravel and revelations
bronze-quilt of pantiles amid the Tuscan foothills
sunrise over Bruges and sunset over Sounion

Lacquer red of scarf worn by Aristide Bruant
splintered spectral warmth of Mucha's Sarah Bernhardt
muted tones of tapestries of medieval grape-treading

Madder and vermilion of Caravaggio's agony
carnelian-studded Crucifix and windows stained with wine
wildfire hue of cope on the glorious Feast of Pentecost

Blazing gules in heraldry and heritage and history
blood red in native flag and sanguine shades of birth
vital inspiration and the cutting edge of living...

 

'These gems have life in them. Their colours speak, say what words fail of.'
George Eliot

For wisdom is more precious than rubies, and nothing you desire can compare with her.'
Proverbs 8:11 (NIV)

 

Rubies

They brought me rubies from the mine,
And held them to the sun;
I said, they are drops of frozen wine
From Eden's vats that run.

I looked again,--I thought them hearts
Of friends to friends unknown;
Tides that should warm each neighboring life
Are locked in sparkling stone.

But fire to thaw that ruddy snow,
To break enchanted ice,
And give love's scarlet tides to flow,
When shall that sun arise?

Ralph Waldo Emerson