Oriel Davies Gallery
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SIOP Dydd Mawrth - Dydd Sadwrn 11-4

CAFFI Dydd Mawrth - Dydd Sadwrn 11-4

ORIEL Y CAFFI: Melvyn Evans: Argraffnod y Tir

ORIEL 1: Ein Ynysoedd: Arddangosfa yn Dathlu Celfyddyd Bywyd Gweledig

Cyn hir:

ORIEL 2: DAC Gwobr Celf (Mis Tachwedd)




Pansy by Lucy Wells

“Pansy!” They would shout some decades ago, singling out the different, the sensitive, the so-called effeminate without knowing that this name derived from a word in French for thought. Pensee!

In the borders or hanging from baskets the velveteen faces smile unconditionally. Purple and violet mark petals as delicate as a butterfly, while slender green stems anchor them to earth.

Viola tricolor or pansy for short.

“It was a funny name for someone so plain.” Recalls my mother and details the marriage of her distant cousin to a girl named for the flower.

Outside the kitchen window, by the wrought iron garden gate hangs a basket of these floral judgments.

The pansies have been blooming since spring when we went on a trip to a local supermarket in search of a particular brand of oven chips. Slowly wheeling the trolley past the gardening section we spot some polystyrene trays brought to life by the ink sharp colours of the pansy. Indigo, purple, violet, maroon and blue blot out all else as dashes of yellow and gold and black line and define in sharp relief and contrast.

“Aren’t they beautiful?” Marvels my mother, her fine wrinkled fingers gently stroking the flowers’ heads. “Let’s get them.”

And they are ceremoniously placed into the wire trolley. Further down the aisle we meet a neighbour who spots our choice.

“There are some others up there,” she points to a four-storey rack stocked entirely with pansies sparkling in front of the meat counter.

“These look like healthier specimens,” advises the neighbour, herself a dedicated gardener. So we swop our trays scrutinising vigour, vitality and intensity of colour. Our trolley becomes a magic carpet of live glamour as we push past yoghurts and ham, beetroots, loaves of bread, baps and biscuits, flying through where everything is frozen or plastic or alcoholic.

We land to load our pansies with equal ceremony onto the check out’s surface and the beep of the scanner surprises us with its lack of reverence.

And still they flower now having re emerged into the autumn chill to shiver in time with the membrane of the spiders’ webs as the breeze flutters and their bright faced petals stare at the window over my mother’s sink. Does she realise she is being watched as her solitary figure shuffles to the sink to perform the repetitive cleansing rituals of her very long life? The colours she delights in beam across the expanse of her driveway and caress her age worn face with reflection, her and the pansies joined in light rays, her guards of honour at the gatepost.

It was last year when pushing through tarmac a gentle pale blue pansy surfaced, delicately defying all laws of survival and fragility to quietly bloom through the gritty black stones, wild and unbidden.

They were called Heartsease before some 19th century gardeners decided to cultivate them to more human formulas.

Why might this plant show up at her backdoor? Did it invite itself on some quiet intuition, to show its affinity?

“It was one of the first things I learned on my counselling course,” says my mother. She has said this many times.

“That we are all made up of bits of male and female and its all part of a balance and some people are homosexual and others aren’t. I never did understand what all the fuss was about.”

Born in an era when men could routinely grope a young woman she refined a technique of fitting pins under her lapels to put off the mauling hands that were after her tender breasts. Watching potential lovers leave for war she didn’t get the chance to find out if they might truly have found each other in love. Marrying a man who would betray her fidelity with ignorant self interest, her heart does need easing, for she has preferred fierce solitude over the risk of further possible heartbreak and now she is nearly done beating.

Does a plant know heart ache, could a flower feel as if she hasn’t fulfilled herself?

As the wild pansy blooms through all attempts to defeat the nature of Earth, which cover her with the black sticky surface of human control so my mother’s cultivated pansies continue to blaze daring to be bright and bold and smiling, a pulsing floral heart beating with ease.

Cyhoeddwyd 01 Chwefror 2016
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