Sunday, February 24, 2013

Week 8: Night Blooms

     Many times imagery is the impetus for words, and that is the case for this week's book-of-the-week, Night Blooms. A dark brown, navy blue, and shadowy-white sheet of pastepaper is the illustration for this little book set to poetry.

The cover: pastepaper and letterpress title plate
Vintage letterpress ornaments frame the title page and each text page

The moon shines round and whole
hanging in the overturned teacup of the sky
Luna whispers, "Pray to me...
and I will grant your wishes,"
then crawls inside the psyche
with her sly white smile.

The stars shine down
singing their twinkling song.
"We see you! We see you!"
And the clouds moving
always on the move, silently
gliding across the ink black sky.

A garden lies below
dark and spooky with the slithering
of the night-crawlers and little animals
out of their tunnels beneath the ground.
Where the day's growth is dormant
with the setting sun
and the plants are all asleep.

But in One corner,
on One night of the year,
the moon and the stars and the clouds
are rivaled by the blooms
of the Night-Blooming Cereus
Princess of the night.

She reigns for just a moment
as her minions surround her rapt
and awestruck by her beauteous
creamy white blooms.
Beautiful for themselves?
or for the flicker of their lifespan.

Youth, come so quick, bloom, wilt
and fall in the night in a matter of seconds.
Change, a raven swooping across the sky
And looking back now, at this
quicksilver life... isn't it All
just like the Night-blooming Cereus?

   And ending with the colophon... an inscription giving a brief description of the work including its author, the name of the printer or publisher, and the date and place of publication. The colophon dates back to the 15th century, and is often placed at the end of a book. Letterpress fonts, type of paper, inks and even the pressman's mood on the day of printing can be included in the colophon... really, anything deemed significant to the printing of the book. In this case, "Variable edition 1 of 8" refers to the fact that eight copies of the text were printed on the letterpress and that each book has a unique sheet of paste paper for the illustration.

Like each life, each volume of Night Blooms is one-of-a-kind.