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January 19, 2011

by Anna Dickie

Lenten Rose

Lenten Rose by Anna Dickie
Click on image to see a larger version.

This is a photograph of an origami flower made from an old gardening book. The flower was a gift; I don’t know who made it. But I’m grateful for the opportunity to participate in a chain of translation: from idea to paper, paper to form and form to a solarised photograph.


Hill’s Vest-Pocket Flemish-English/English-Flemish Dictionary
Published, London 1917

A spent volume,
bound in frayed vermilion.
Left behind on bare boards.

Inside, on a flyleaf:
The Briton Abroad Series,
Indispensable to every traveller

I thumb what must have been
Great Uncle John’s lexicon.
Eye picking out an alphabet
that lips can barely form:

Aanbruisen, to rush on, to foam
Bemind, beloved
Cipres, m. Cypress
Dampig, vapourous,
Eeheid, f. unit, unity
Flikken, to patch, to mend
Geklep, n. tolling, peel (of bells)
Hunkeren, to long for
Insmeren, to grease
Kankerbloem, f. wild poppy
Leeuwerik, m. lark
Maan, f. moon
Nok, f. ridge,
Opwekken, to rouse
Pel, f. shell
Raap, f. turnip
Snipperkoek, m. gingerbread with orange peel
Toon, m. tune, tone, voice
Uur, n. hour
Vlasbaard, m. (fig.) beardless boy
Wapenstilstand, m. truce, armistice
Zaad, n. seed

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Anna Dickie lives near Edinburgh in Scotland. She started writing poetry in her late forties and has been placed in a number of competitions. Born in West Africa and educated in Scotland, she is married with one university-aged son. Anna has had two pamphlets published, Peeling Onion and Heart Notes, published in 2008 by Calder Wood Press.

In 2009 she co-edited the Economy issue of qarrtsiluni. She performs with two other Scottish women poets in a group called Poetrio.

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  1. January 19, 2011 at 5:26 pm

    So good to see you here again, with these beautifully preserved and presented treasures.

  2. anna
    January 20, 2011 at 5:32 am

    Thank you Lucy! Good to hear from you,as I miss blogger friends, but life is busy with family and things. In fact this poem comes from clearing my mother in law’s home, this book being the last thing left in one empty room.

  3. Irene Brown
    January 21, 2011 at 12:52 pm

    Lovely image, Anna, and I love the idea of ‘a chain of translation’!

    In the Flemish list, some words seem onomatopeaic eg insmeren, gekelp. Good stuff!

  4. pam hart
    January 21, 2011 at 9:17 pm

    Hi Anna, So good to hear you read this! I love the photo and the poem, both folding in and in, linked to each other too.

  5. anna
    January 22, 2011 at 12:28 pm

    Thank you girls. I had to read up on Flemish pronounciation, not easy for a dyslexic soul like me…

  6. January 23, 2011 at 12:56 pm

    A mystifying image rising crystalline from the depths yet sinking in its core; and then a poem of words in themselves linked as images to dance into a poem–thank you, Anna, for such a gift so unexpected it is stunning!

  7. anna
    February 4, 2011 at 6:48 am

    Thank you so much Alegria, it was good of you to comment. I felt when reading the flemish words that each one was almost like a poem itself, as they were so weighted with the events of WW1. and I was thinking of a fine line drawing by the artist F C B Cadell from 1915 called The Parting see here:

  1. May 9, 2011 at 3:30 pm
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