RSS Feed

Tag Archives: William Wordsworth

The Happiest Flowers

March Madness and St. Patrick’s Day are just around the corner.

Some famous people were born in this month, e.g. President Andrew Jackson, singer James Taylor, composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, scientist Albert Einstein, and author Dr. Seuss. Women’s History Month claims this month as its own, and daffodils are its flowers. They are a symbol of friendship.

Image result for dr seuss

Though their botanic name is narcissus, daffodils are sometimes called jonquils, and in England, because of their long association with Lent, they’re known as the “Lent Lily.”

Lore connecting the daffodil to not only a sign of winter’s end but a lucky emblem of future prosperity is found throughout the world. In Wales, it’s said if you spot the first daffodil of the season, your next 12 months will be filled with wealth, and Chinese legend has it that if a daffodil bulb is forced to bloom during the New Year, it will bring good luck to your home.

You have probably heard of the Ides of March, however, because it is the day Roman statesman Julius Caesar was assassinated. The immortal words “Beware the Ides of March” are uttered in William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar to the leader by a fortune-teller.

March was my grandmother’s favorite month. She lived on a dairy farm in Shelbyville, Kentucky, and winter weather had its own staying-power there. The blooming daffodils in our yard were usually about three weeks ahead of hers. Lulu would call my mom with the definitive morning when her daffodils opening their sunny blossoms. Sometimes they were covered with snow, but Lulu was ecstatic to see those harbingers of spring.

Image result for daffodils in vase

I am pleased that my daffodils, transplanted from where I grew up, survived the cold rain from last week. Some are limping along and hardly raising their heads to the skies, but their cheerful, yellow stands out in the brown and dreary yard, a welcome sight.

In sixth grade, my teacher had us memorize a poem every month and recite it in front of the class. “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” was her pick for March. Some of the lyrics are still stuck in my head.

Oh, let’s enjoy the daffodils!

“I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud”

BY WILLIAM WORDSWORTH

I wandered lonely as a cloud

That floats on high o’er vales and hills,

When all at once I saw a crowd,

A host, of golden daffodils;

Beside the lake, beneath the trees,

Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

 

Continuous as the stars that shine

And twinkle on the milky way,

They stretched in never-ending line

Along the margin of a bay:

Ten thousand saw I at a glance,

Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

 

The waves beside them danced; but they

Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:

A poet could not but be gay,

In such a jocund company:

I gazed—and gazed—but little thought

What wealth the show to me had brought:

 

For oft, when on my couch I lie

In vacant or in pensive mood,

They flash upon that inward eye

Which is the bliss of solitude;

And then my heart with pleasure fills,

Image result for daffodils in vase
Advertisements

Winds of March and Memory

The word March comes from the word, “Martius” that was originally the first month of the Roman calendar, named after Mars, the god of war. (The new year was changed to the Gregorian calendar in 1752.) March was the season of agriculture and war.

The Anglo-Saxons called the month “hlyd monath,” which means stormy month or “hraed monath” which translates rugged month.

Many years ago in my sixth grade class, our teacher selected a poem for us to memorize each month. We had to go to the front of the class to recite it. Looking back, I am not sure whether the worst part was the memorization or the standing. As I remember, we all survived the discipline of this recitation.

One of my favorite poems was I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud by the English poet, William Wordsworth. The first verse is still in my memory bank.

Yesterday, the second bunch of daffodils landed in a jar on my kitchen table, and their spring smells overpowered everything else. These flowers are one of the first tastes of spring in my yard, and they take over the beds. Though the crocuses and hyacinths also have bloomed, their statement is quieter. Daffodils explode.

The daffodils in my yard came from the yard in my first home. They were planted under three white dogwood trees there. When my folks sold the house, I transplanted some of the bulbs. As they have multiplied, they are now in three beds and not one. These sturdy flowers dance with the winds and smile in the rain

Perhaps we should take lessons from the daffodils and choose dancing and smiling.

Blooming daffodils in spring park - csp1416904

I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud
William Wordsworth

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

March Events:

March 5: War of 1812 State Meeting in Columbia, SC
March 6: Walnut Grove Plantation Reenactment
March 17-19: SCDAR State Conference

Storms and Rainbows

Posted on

Late yesterday afternoon, storms attacked the Upstate. Hail, wind, and rain pounded trees, homes, and businesses. Leaves and limbs littered the ground, and hail piled up on roofs. The driving rain slowed traffic, and standing water puddled in yards and on roads. Scattered tree limbs littered and waited for pick up.

Those menacing clouds warned us of the fury that was forthcoming, but there was nothing to do. They towered over us in shades of black and gray. Yes, drivers slowed down. Playing children sought indoor games, and people ran to close car windows.

Lasting only minutes, there was concrete damage.

But then came the rainbows. From various places in the county, men and women posted pictures of rainbows; some were beautiful double arcs of color. From the reds on the outer rims to the violet shades inside, the seven colors brought light and brightness back into the skies.

The Irish leprechaun’s secret hiding place for his pot of gold is usually said to be at the end of the rainbow. This place is impossible to reach, because the rainbow is an optical effect which depends on the location of the viewer.

My brother and I used to beg Daddy to find the end of the rainbow, and sometimes he would go along with our desire to find that pot. It was amazing to us how the rainbow moved away from us until it finally disappeared.

Artists include rainbows in their paintings. “The Rainbow” is an 1878 oil painting by American artist George Inness, located in the Indianapolis Museum of Art, which is in Indianapolis, Indiana. It depicts a rainbow arcing across the sky after a storm.

Inness, George – The Rainbow – Google Art Project.jpg

In Genesis 9, as part of the flood story of Noah, the rainbow is a sign of God’s covenant to never destroy all life on earth with a global flood again. I believe in God’s love for mankind, and a rainbow affirms His glory. It leaves me with a gasp in my heart.

When I was in sixth grade, my teacher required us to memorize a poem each month. One we memorized was by William Wordsworth called “My Heart Leaps Up.”

“My heart leaps up when I behold
A rainbow in the sky:
So was it when my life began;
So is it now I am a man;
So be it when I shall grow old,
Or let me die!
The Child is father of the Man;
And I could wish my days to be
Bound each to each by natural piety.”

From childhood to manhood, rainbows bring the poet joy. As the speaker says, he wants to hold fast to the wonder he had of rainbows as a child. I believe I do, too.