A few days ago, when we were strolling down Bergmannstrasse, my husband said to me, "You know, as far as flowers go, pansies are pretty spiessig." Spiessig is a German word that is pretty much untranslatable. In English, I would say it would be something like bourgeois, nerdy, small-minded and uptight all mixed together. The German word for pansy is Stiefmutterchen (little step-mother)which goes to show that the German language also agrees that they are not the funkiest of blossoms.
About 20 minutes later my husband said, "Wait. That's ridiculous. Flowers can't be spiessig. It must just be my perception of them." We agreed that maybe it had to do with all the plastic window planters and old lady balconies that are full of them. "Maybe pansies are actually beautiful and we just can't see it anymore."
Funny that the two languages agree with the mood of many different flowers. Daisies are Gänseblumchen (little goose flowers)which suggests the same cheerfulness and all around good humor. A rose is Rose (said Rosa), a name that is feminine and yet also prim. Tulip and Tulpen both sound colorfully plastic-fantastic. Though a common weed, both dandelion and Löwenzahn (lion's tooth)suggest that we like the yellow rascal's wildness. Then again, the mod, geometric seed casing probably does help and is amazingly in the spirit of Buckminster Fuller.
Today, while walking to an apartment a friend just bought in Graefe Kiez, I came upon a concrete planter filled with pansies. I looked at them closer. Though they are a bit stunted, their face is lovely, the center (like many flowers)startilingly clitoral. Little step-mothers, strut your sexy stuff!