Monday, August 22, 2011

A White Hyacinth


No there is no white hyacinth in the painting, this is NZ bush painted on a piece of slate by an artist friend Stacey O'Neill who lives 5 minutes away from me. I love her work because of its detailed loving often spiritual evocation of the bush that hugs the hills behind us, the bush I walk in and watch. She is a generous artist, too, whose donated work I have often looked at on the walls of hospitals while going through a family crisis. I can see those murals in my mind's eye now, and am again deeply grateful to her.

And the white hyacinth? Well, my Mum always said to me that if I had two pennies, I'd spend one on bread and the other on white hyacinths to feed the soul - she'd adapted a Persian saying, which due to the joys of google I've found. 

"If, of thy mortal goods, thou art bereft,
And from thy slender store two loaves
alone to thee are left,
Sell one & from the dole,
Buy Hyacinths to feed the soul"
- Muslihuddin Sadi,
13th Century Persian Poet


Anyway, I was given a little money for a recent birthday from my parents-in-law, and I've also been earning some good money writing stories for a government agency, and after buying, well, groceries, I found myself in a local shop staring at Stacey's painting: glowing on slate, the size of my hand.  So beautiful, so replenishing. Definitely a white hyacinth. I bought it. 

4 comments:

Melissa Green said...

May one of your loaves always be set aside for the essential and restorative white hyacinths, Mary. Stacey's painting is lovely. Rest in it, find peace there, rejoice. xo

Gondal-girl said...

Mary - that is such a beautiful quote and even more beautiful that it was sprouted by your mother in your imagination. Love it.

Jim Murdoch said...

I find the use of the word ‘dole’ in the Persian saying an interesting one. It’s long been a slang term for unemployment benefit here in the UK but looking it up in the dictionary most of the definitions refer to charitable giving and not funds received from a sale. There is an archaic meaning – one’s fate – which is interesting. I wonder if, when they talk about the money received from the sale of the loaf, they mean that that money is available for a charitable use? Or perhaps I’m reading too much into it and all they mean are the proceeds from the deal which I imagine is related etymologically to the word dole.

susan t. landry said...

money spent on art seems to me to be the very best way to engender modern-day alchemy. also, in my experience, one never regrets this type of purchase.

(lovely choice, too!)