Sunday, August 3, 2014

a visit to Bow Street Flowers (and a poem)

Bow Street Flowers is in Somerville, MA. near the Cambridge border,
where there are always fun things to see.
On this visit a car covered with floppy discs. 
Remember those? Time warp. And it wasn't that long ago, in real time,
but in virtual time it is ancient history.

But we still have flowers. Right outside the shop, as I walked up,
I watched a woman come out and put her flowers in her bike basket.
I was so enchanted by that sight, I didn't even notice her fabulous pants 
until I looked at the picture she kindly allowed me to take before she cycled away.

If you've read my other Bow Street posts (here and here) you know that there is
much more than flowers in that small shop. Shelley has created a place 
of beauty, warmth and whimsey.
Every time I go there I say I want to live there, and that it's like
walking into a story book. Because it is.

I had one of those childhoods where I wanted to be part of
everyone else's family. I was always looking for a home. And now,
I have a lovely home (two, in fact) and a dear family,
but that lonely child hovers.

There are places that fill me with longing and love.

A little shop with rabbits underfoot

and flowers galore makes me feel complete.

I bring some of that home with me,

 flowers, enough for two arrangements.

Aji supervises.

I smile all day. It's the flowers, and more.


A ladder sticking up at the open window,
The top of an old ladder,
And all of Summer is there.

Great waves and tufts of wisteria surge across
        the window
And a thin, bleated blossom
Jerks up and down in the sunlight;
Purple translucence against the blue sky.
"Tie back this branch," I say,
But my hands are sticky with leaves,
And my nostrils widen to the smell of crushed green.
The ladder moves uneasily at the open window,
And I call to the man beneath,
"Tie back that branch."

There is a ladder leaning against the window-sill,
And a mutter of thunder in the air.

                   --Amy Lowell (1874-1925)


  1. Oh Jen,
    This is so moving, emotionally, as well as beautiful, visually. I had one of those childhoods as well, at least on the "maternal" side. Thank you for this heartfelt post and the photos of Bow Street Flowers, as well. I hope to see it in the Fall.
    Hugs to your brave self,
    Middle-child Diane in
    sunny, flowering Denver

  2. beautiful. and a little sad. I had a somewhat lonely childhood too, and it left me restless. your story gives me hope. maybe I have a home and a family too one day.

    1. I wish I had been brave enough to lead your nomadic life when I was young.

  3. Actually, I thought the poem was the one you were writing beneath each photo. More plaintive than Amy Lowell. The photo of the bike and peddle pushers is wonderful. You should enter it in a photo contest. And why do your cats always pose so well with flowers? You know The Platters song - You've got the magic touch." Fits you.

    1. Awww….thank you, Karen. I bring flowers in the house, and Aji is there.

  4. Or is it "You've got that magic touch"? Oh, well.

    1. And is it "there is much more than flowers" or "there are much more than flowers"?

  5. I love that poem! I'm ashamed that I've really never read Amy Lowell. I also love the photos you take of the shop - you always 'see' it in a special way.

    1. I found it in one of those wonderful Everyman's Library Pocket Poetry books--The Four Seasons. Those would be perfect in your shop. I'm sure they've done one on flowers. Don't know what it would take to get an account though.

  6. Beautiful observations and wonderful poem. Thank you, Jen. What a lovely post to find on a Monday morning. I want to visit Shelley's shop now. Do you think she'll let us both move in? Speaking of walking into a story book, did you ever read From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler when you were a girl?

    1. Denise--I love Mixed-Up Files. Also her book, The View From Saturday. We will be sharing the shop with three rabbits.

    2. I'll look for The View From Saturday, and gather some carrots...

    3. They graze on the flower clippings. Petals loves rose stems.

  7. I love your visits to Shelley's shop, makes me feel as if I'm there. Love that picture with the flowers and the pants, they match, I wonder if she did it on purpose. I do think you have found your home(s), they always feel full of warmth.

    1. That flowers and pants was a mighty coincidence if it wasn't planned. I love them--they look very 70's to me.

  8. This post has made me unreasonable happy.

    Thank you and Shelley.

    xoxoxo J

  9. Hi Jen, It is interesting how often individual creative flair involves flowers, or flower-like concepts like the floppy-disc car. Speaking of which, I have some of those 5" discs put away that now are only useful for art projects, but mine I believe were all black ones.

    1. I hadn't even thought of flower imagery with the car--that's so cool. Hang on to those discs--they may be valuable one day!

  10. What a lovely poem! I would enjoy a visit to that delightful shop. Seems many people do. You got some great photos. Especially the one of the bike. Those pants make it a prize-winner! Haha. Your flower arrangements are just wonderful with such a beautiful variety of flowers. I am so glad we have a bit of summer left. I hope it is enjoyable for you!

    1. Thanks Jacqueline. I keep thinking about NM. Badly want to return.

  11. Good morning Jen. I find your posts very soothing, visually and spiritually. They often made me stop and ponder awhile. This one is no exception. Thank you, Christa