Some flowers just stop me in my tracks. This heirloom White Henryi I planted a few years ago with bulbs from Old House Gardens is one of them.  Blooming now as it does each July, it commands attention. Because of the magnificient flower's heavy head of downward blooms, it is best appreciated while lying on your back in the soft grass looking up towards the sky.  This is a humbling position.   Lolling in the grass I begin to think of William Blake who wrote of The Lilly:

The modest Rose puts forth a thorn, 
The humble sheep a threat'ning horn: 
While the Lily white shall in love delight, 
Nor a thorn nor a threat stain her beauty bright 

After watering the garden and visiting the flowers, Sunday mornings are good for lolling over latte with the thick Sunday edition of the New York Times. This morning, however, I only got to page A.9. I was stopped really by the David Kirkpatrick story first page center and read it to the end. I read it again. 

As recently as two days ago, State Department officials said, Mrs. Clinton had planned to deliver a what was billed as a major speech about the Egyptian democracy on Monday, in Alexandria. But with Egypt’s contest for power in rapidly shifting flux, there were too many questions, too many pitfalls and too little new for Mrs. Clinton to offer, said several people briefed on the process. After rejecting at least three different drafts, Mrs. Clinton called off the speech virtually on the eve of her arrival.

Hillary Clinton speechless in Cairo is front page news. Good reporting like this can stop me in my tracks. Smart public diplomacy is awe inspiring. This is an image of Secretary Clinton not as the stunning White Henryi who shouts her arrival in the July garden saying, "look at me!" This is the other lilly, the quieter one that Blake also wrote about in his poem, The Book of Thel:  

The Lilly of the Valley, breathing in the humble grass,
Answer'd the lovely maid and said: 'I am a wat'ry weed,

And I am very small and love to dwell in lowly vales;
So weak the gilded butterfly scarce perches on my head;
Yet I am visited from heaven, and he that smiles on all
Walks in the valley, and each morn over me spreads his hand
Saying, "Rejoice, thou humble grass, thou new-born lilly flower,
Thou gentle maid of silent valleys and of modest brooks;
For thou shalt be clothed in light, and fed with morning manna,
Till summer's heat melts thee beside the fountains and the springs

To flourish in eternal vales". 

It is not about us: this Egyptian political drama. It is fine for the American Secretary of State to speak softly in public or not at all. After all, we clearly don't know what we are doing. 

Set the noisy Egyptian stage: secular activists protest the Secretary Clinton's visit saying that America is conspiring to put the Islamists in power; the Mubarak appointed courts work with the military to silence the voices of democracy NGOs funded by the United States calling them a threat to the nation; and, the US continues to fund the Egyptian military as it suspends the newly elected parliament in an effort to control the writing of the new constitution.  What could possibly be said? 

Surely, it would be better to to be the humble Lilly of the Valley now: listen, learn and reflect on Thel's Motto: 

Does the Eagle know what is in the pit,
Or wilt thou go ask the Mole?
Can Wisdom be put in a silver rod,
Or Love in a golden bowl? 

lily of the valley
Except where otherwise noted, all original work produced by Donna Oglesby is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License