Welcome to my blog, where I take pleasure in words and pictures, be they my own or those of others. I'm a creative individual, and the crafty side I explore on my 'other blog', Picking Up The Threads, which I hope you'll visit too. I'm sure you understand that I have sole copyright of my original work and any of my contributions, so please ask if you want to use them. A polite request is rarely refused. So, as they used to say on the BBC's 'Listen With Mother' radio programme, many years ago: "Are you sitting comfortably? Then we'll begin."

Sunday, 1 July 2012

A Spa Too Far

Ophelia by Redon Odilone

A lady desired to be pampered
so booked herself into a spa,
but found that her garments then hampered
her efforts; she didn’t get far.
The bath was to help with unwinding
and calming her poor troubled brain.
The flowers were meant for reminding,
their perfume to ease her heart’s pain.
The crow-flower, nettle and daisy,
columbine, fennel and rue.
Remembrance was now a bit hazy,
so they threw in some rosemary too.
She lay in the warm scented water,
hoping to drift off to sleep.
The peace that the treatment had brought her
was dreamlike, and heavy and deep.
No nettle could prick her awake now,
her nightgown clung heavy and cold.
The pansies lay limp on her neatly plucked brow, 
the violets all withered and old.
She must have been mad, they all said,
madly in love that was all.
Sweets to the sweet on the treatment room bed,
a white sheet, her funeral pall.
© Marilyn Brindley

The image prompt was courstesy of Tess Kincaid at The Mag. It reminded me of the flower baths advertised at exotic spas. Nevertheless I still had fun with the Ophelia connection. All the flowers listed are from Hamlet by William Shakespeare:

There’s a daisy; I would give you some violets, but they withered all when my father died...... 

The words ‘sweets to the sweet’ are spoken by the Queen as she scatters flowers:

Sweets to the sweet, farewell!
I hop’d thou shouldst have been my Hamlet’s wife:
I thought thy bride-bed to have deck’d, sweet maid,
And not have strewed thy grave.


  1. Your knowledge of herbs and herb lore shines through this piece. I love where you throw in rosemary for remembrance.
    brenda w

  2. Really enjoyed this one, Little Nell. I've been meaning to catch up with some more 'Shakespeare Uncovered', but the clock keeps beating me.

  3. This is very clever Nell, in all kinds of ways. I enjoyed it.

  4. yikes...this took a bit of a scary turn...nicely written though...i guess that was the final comfort for her...smiles.

  5. Oh oops! I really didn't realize until after I read your lovely inspiration...better then clever....that it's the Mag! I like to view the photo before I read others! I must be sun-dazed or water-logged! Ha! Ha! I've been having fun catching up on your lovely Sepia theme this week...I did get mine in....mixed with sand! :)

  6. Cleverly done Little Nell - quite brilliant!

    Anna :o]

  7. I just loved this poem. So accessible, but full of depth. And funny too.

  8. Absolutely loved this offering - especially the 'language of the flowers' - clever you! :)

  9. Hey! Hey! Nell, this is fabulous - and with a cracking title to boot! I hope you get many visits here as it deserves a good, public airing!

  10. Your Mag is unique, creative ... good job!!

  11. Oh, my gosh, Nell, this was so right on. And for one who usually has a hard time with poetry, I totally understood what you were saying. A few years back, in a resort town nearby, something like this did happen; not in the water but in the sauna. Dang. Great job on this one!

    Kathy M.

  12. very nice...deep poem about a deep character

    where are the koi

  13. The Bard had better watch his back!
    PSST! Try the last line with a comma replacing 'for'.
    I hope you don't mind 'workshopping'. I love it when poets offer suggestions. It forces one to either accept the suggestion or defend the original. Either way, I gain.
    This poem is such a clever piece in the classical fashion that it deserves to be perfect.

  14. What a great image of death , Nell , water comes into play when we are born and when we die , i guess

  15. The bath was to help with unwinding

    Now, that sounds like a plan!