"The Flower And The Nausea"

I still feel a bit sick so my title is doubly apt.

I was intrigued earlier in the week when I read that our Dame Judi Dench is to read a poem by Brazilian poet Carlos Drummond de Andrade at the opening ceremony of the Olympics in Rio. My interest was piqued when I learnt that the poem features a flower bursting through asphalt. I needed to know more. It sounded to me as though the poem might be an uplifting follow-up to Big Yellow Taxi and Silent Spring. I don't think I'm far wrong having read it. An excerpt follows:

"A flower rose from the street!
Far away they pass by, trams, buses, rivers of steel traffic
A flower, though faded
Evades the police, breaks the asphalt
Be completely silent, stop your business
I assure you that a flower rose
Its color is unnoticed
Its petals don’t open
Its name is not in the books
It is ugly. But it is truly a flower

Beside the mountains, dense clouds swell
Little white points dance on the surface of the sea, startled chickens

[It is ugly. But it is a flower. It pierced the asphalt, the boredom, the disgust and the hate]"

I wasn't feeling great but have admired how Nature has reclaimed our infrastructure and wanted to document it. I was delighted to find this lone Rayless Mayweed in the asphalt. Even more delighted as it is like the flower in poem - a bit ugly as flowers go. Its "petals don't open" because it has no ray florets. "Its colour is unnoticed" as the flowers are green.

Telling that Keble Martin dismisses it as an 'alien'.  


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