Their mopheads drooping and dipping as they grow heavy with rain, I gather these pastel shades of Hydrangeas and bring them indoors. As if the colour has washed from one petal to another, I lose myself in their water-colour tones and set about preserving them, by letting them dry naturally in an inch or so of water, so that their gentle beauty and grace can go on and on…..
A spoiled green paint left over in a jar
has coloured these dull leaves, so dried and wan
under the flowers that no longer own
a blue, but still reflect it from afar.
As if through tears, smudged and approximate,
faint as the blue of letters from the past
as if, perhaps, it would be better lost
decaying into yellows, greys and violet;
colours as washed-out as a pinafore
outworn, outgrown, discarded utterly,
showing how short the lives of children are.
But of a sudden blue seems born again
within one cluster: then, surprised, you see
a tender blue rejoice beside the green.
Rainer Maria Rilke
Translated by Stephen Cohn.