Friday, December 11, 2009

Bub Bridger


Wild, passionate, and funny-- And so generous. When Bub went to the International Feminist Book Fair in London in 1984 she took the biggest suitcase I'd ever seen, stuffed with books New Zealand women had written. Even though she struggled to carry anything heavy.

It's her funeral today. She and I had a complex relationship that ended long ago; some of what I remembered when I heard of her death was very sad. And we loved many of the same people. Though I never quite got her obsession with All Black Gary Whetton. (Some of it was about his thighs. Understandably.)

Down the road there's an expensive block of flats with a gardener. Who planted daisies. Not wild daisies, like those in Bub's famous poem, but very large and beautiful cultivated ones. For weeks I admired them and wanted to take a cutting to grow at home. Couldn't do it. Finally, I heard Bub's voice in my head. "Help yourself, darling", she said. (She always advocated courage. And I saw and admired her courage many times.) So I leaned down, nipped off a shoot. Tried to be casual about it, not to scurry away. Last year the shoot grew and produced two flowers. This year, it's bigger, with lots of flowers about to open.

Wild Daisies

If you love me
Bring me flowers
Wild daisies
Clutched in your fist
Like a torch
No orchids or roses
Or carnations
No florist's bow
Just daisies
Steal them
Risk your life for them
Up the sharp hills
In the teeth of the wind
If you love me
Bring me daisies
That I will cram
In a bright vase
And marvel at

(from Up Here on the Hill —Mallinson Rendel 1989)

No-one could say MARVEL as marvellously as Bub did.

Thanks for everything Bub. I hope out there where you are is filled with people you love. All carrying daisies.

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