17 March 2017

Background

How nice that some of you enjoyed yesterday's poem - "Daffodils".  It was inspired by the sight of a border of daffodils in our garden - all sunny and bright yellow in the sharp spring light of Tuesday morning. I wanted to write a joyful, celebratory poem in honour of those familiar heralds of spring. They remind us about renewal.

Of course it has been done before. I think everyone is familiar with William Wordsworth's  "I wandered lonely as a cloud" which was inspired by a walk he took by Ullswater with his sister Dorothy in the springtime of 1802. It is a poem I have read and considered many times. There is a sense in which Wordsworth's poem was not really about daffodils at all but about humanity's relationship with Nature. In the last verse, Wordsworth looks "upon the inward eye" where he finds contentment in his memories of Nature. This was a recurring theme in his work.
Picture used to accompany yesterday's poem
In comparison, my poem was far less profound. All I wanted to do was applaud the daffodils and note their welcome return. I had gone out into the garden with a bowl of seeds for the garden birds when I was suddenly captivated by our little border of yellow trumpeters beneath the privet hedge. How healthy and proud they appeared. I went inside for my camera.

It was Shirley who planted the bulbs there a few years back, just behind a clump of ferns which of course remain dormant till the early summer. The daffodils like it there, sheltered from northern winds in a little suntrap and by the time the ferns are pushing through, the daffodils are dying off, their goodness being sucked back into their subterranean bulbs. I suppose it is a symbiotic relationship.

In the poem, I deliberately used the word "fluttering" as a nod to Wordsworth's "Fluttering and dancing in the breeze". Near the end, I echo a joyful line from "Get Happy" famously sung by Judy Garland in the 1950 musical film, "Summer Stock". Popular culture and poetry have an uneasy relationship and I like to play around with that tension by referencing modernity. After all, this isn't 1802.

20 comments:

  1. Daffodils herald spring's arrival most appropriately...they're are as golden as rays of sunshine.

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    1. They are as golden as gold or saffron rice or the yellow tube in a box of watercolours...

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  2. daffodils always remind me of the day i brought my second baby home from hospital. My sister had placed a number of vases throughout our little flat and it was the best welcome home I have had before or since

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    1. How lovely that that simple memory has stayed with you Kylie. Does your sister know?

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  3. A few weeks ago my garden looked drab and uninviting. Now it is full of daffodils, grape hyacinths and pansies all blooming their heads off. With the (rare)appearance of something called the sun and some blue skies, I cannot wait to get out there each day!

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    1. You should don a fairy costume and dance amongst your spring flowers ADDY. The neighbours will be nicely surprised.

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  4. When I migrated to Australia, the things I missed most were daffodils - closely followed by M and S food!

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    1. Well I am happy to have stirred some old memories for you Margaret. Thanks for calling by.

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  5. I also wondered whether this post of mine (the girls from Puyallup) may have helped to inspire your lemon gowns.

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    1. Of course, without that post, my poem could never have been written. Thank you Bob.

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  6. I am shamefully ignorant of specific Wordsworth poems. I mean, I know who HE is, but I don't really know his work. I guess I need to learn it if I'm ever going to pass a UK citizenship test!

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    1. Tut! Tut! And you a librarian too! It's like a carpenter not knowing what a saw looks like... but at least you are honest! Here are three more citizenship questions for you...
      What were the first names of the comedians Morecambe and Wise?
      What was Captain Pugwash's ship called?
      What is the biggest and best historical county in England? (Clue: See my blog title)

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  7. In the mountains, we are advised to plant daffodils with other spring bulbs. 'Cause, the elk will steer clear of the daffodils. I have seen elk crossing the street in our little village with tulips hanging out of their mouths. They will pull up the whole plant, bulb and all.

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    1. Thank God we don't have elk in the suburbs of Sheffield. Foxes, badgers, hedgehogs but no elk... or bears!

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  8. Daffodils are spring.

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    1. See! You are a poet after all Graham!

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  9. I like daffodils, they are a cheering sight. I can't think of anything more profound to say because it's very late.

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    1. Your late night contribution was appreciated ahead of your journey to Seville.

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  10. I'm like Steve, woefully ignorant of Wordsworth's poems. I do not seek out poetry on my own so I only know what other people introduce to me, or what I studied in high school. Tsk! I admire your thoughtful way of going about writing, as well. The ones I've written have either popped into my head as rhyming lines and won't go away until they're written down, or are ramblings that need sternly edited. Oh dear, now I'm thinking I need to re-write my poem for Poetry Monday ... again ...

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  11. I have not had the heart to check our daffodils. They are behind the barn under a foot of snow. I can see valiant tulip leaves poking through the white. This freaky weather. February like April and then wham. But daffodils do remind me of when my grandchildren were young. They loved to pick bunches to give their mothers. And I had to teach each one to put their little fingers around the flower and follow the stem down to the bottom.

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