Camellia in Flower

How I wish to catch again the bright burst buds of our camellia in flower,

Candy-red explosions on the west wall of my childhood home’s driveway in Ennis, Co. Clare,

In April — or a good year, March — watch its riot draw the eye of those toing and froing along the College Road into town.

On visits I prune it,

And hack away the invading, greedy hands of the Tobins’ escallonia and griselinia.

I give it space, clear its base of weeds and dead leaves.

It’s given its feed of Miracid — brief respite from the limey Burren soil my father dug into the bed all those decades ago.

Setting it up on summer and Christmas sojourns, thinking with satisfaction:

She’ll flower in spring.

But in nearly ten years I haven’t been there to be greeted and exalted by her life-awakening bloom.

Old Gerry Browne, stooped, scurrying off to one o’clock mass at the Friary cries in to my mother that her camellia is exquisite,

A compliment indeed, for the Browne’s garden up the hill is an immaculate display no matter what the season.

During phone calls, along with the other news from home that I, sleuth-like, extract,

I ask about the camellia:

How are the buds doing?

Is it flowering yet?

How many?

I saw it was frosty; are they lasting?

Every year I vow to take an Easter trip to Ennis, to College Road,

But somehow my rickety plans never take root.

As they say: life happens.

I console myself by seeking out in my adopted city camellias in flower;

A visit to Fernando VI’s Royal Botanic Gardens, Paseo del Prado, Madrid.

Although over here the calid Spanish winter sun coaxes blooms by mid January,

And just past St Bridget’s day the flowers have gone.


About ucronin

Microbiologist, brewer, writer, fan of James Joyce, guitar player and gardener, U. Cronin was born in the county town of Ennis, Co. Clare. He's spent much of his adult years moving country — between Spain and Ireland — and at present he is to be found back in his native town. Author of five novels and working on a sixth, U. is back in the lab and engaging his passion for looking for bugs using very bright lasers. Let's hope it turns out well!
This entry was posted in Being Irish Abroad, Poetry, Uncategorized and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Camellia in Flower

  1. I bet it is beautiful! I just installed a Japanese stewardia, which is supposed to have camillia type flowers. . I can’t wait for it to bloom!

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