poplar leaf

The rain that fell a yesterday is ruby on the roses,
Silver on the poplar-leaf and gold on willow stem;
The grief that chanced a yesterday is silence that encloses
Holy loves where time and change shall never trouble them.

The rain that fell a yesterday makes all the hillside glisten,
Coral on the laurel and beryl on the grass;
The grief that chanced a yesterday has taught the soul to listen
For whispers of eternity in all the winds that pass.

O faint-of-heart, storm-beaten, this rain will gleam to-morrow
Flame within the columbine and jewels on the thorn,
Heaven in the forget-me-not; though sorrow now be sorrow,
Yet sorrow shall be beauty in the magic of the morn.

Katharine Lee Bates

In order to talk with the dead
you have to choose words
that they recognise as easily
as their hands
recognised the fur of their dogs in the dark.
Words clear and calm
as water of the torrent tamed in the wineglass
or chairs the mother puts in order
after the guests have left.
Words that night shelters
as marshes do their ghostly fires.


In order to talk with the dead
you have to know how to wait:
they are fearful
like the first steps of a child.
But if we are patient
one day they will answer us
with a poplar leaf trapped in a broken mirror
with a flame that suddenly revives in the fireplace,
with a dark return of birds
before the glance of a girl
who waits motionless on the threshold.

—  Jorge Teillier: In Order To Talk With The Dead (translated by Carolyne Wright), from Deaths And Wonders (1971).
Word of the Day: Bestiary

bestiary \BES-chee-er-ee, BEES-\, noun:

a collection of moralized fables, especially as written in the Middle Ages, about actual or mythical animals.

It was pieced together into no named pattern native to this country, not star flower or flying bird of churn dasher or poplar leaf, but was some entirely made-up bestiary or zodiac of half-visionary creatures.
– Charles Frazier, Cold Mountain, 1997

An inexperienced heraldist resembles a medieval traveler who brings back from the East the faunal fantasies influenced by the domestic bestiary he possessed all along rather than by the results of direct zoological exploration.
– Vladamir Nabokov, Speak, Memory, 1951

Bestiary is from the Latin bestiaries meaning “a fighter against beasts in the public entertainments.” It entered English in the 1620s.

It takes great deal to persuade the Elves of Middle-earth to war. Immortal beings, they have the most to lose in conflict- a millennia of life and love and joy. But when they do fight, they are the most ruthless and efficient fighting force in Middle-earth.Though the dealing of death can never be beautiful to behold, when Elves wield their weapons it is with a terrifying grace more akin to dance than killing.

In the Battle of the Five Armies, the Elves must rise against the tide of evil that will otherwise encroach upon their realm.

The Elves of the Woodland Realm are highly militarized. Drilled and trained under the watchful, suspicious eye of their king, Thranduil, they are dark, grim and lethal. Their weaponry mimics the forest kingdom they have made their home: armor that enfolds the body with the delicacy of leaves; arrows with heads as elegant and sharply-pointed as a poplar leaf.

—  The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies Visual Companion