Recently I read this page in The Bedside Book of Birds: An Avian Miscellany, by Graeme Gibson:
Isn't that so true? We don't look at anything, birds or people we love or the street we live on or anything, with fresh eyes. Everything has a film over it, a film of past experiences and associations and conversations. And as this passage by Alberto Manguel says, one of the things that contributes to that film is our reading. We are, I am, "corrupt with reading."
This is very much true of flowers, and particularly daffodils. Other than roses, daffodils are probably the most literary flower there is. I'm thinking of Wordsworth on daffodils; I posted that poem here. But I'm also thinking about Narcissus (Narcissus is the family name for daffodils) and the daffodil fields in the afterlife in Greek mythology, and "Daffodowndilly", by A. A. Milne. I'm thinking about poems I've written about daffodils, like the one in this post. I can't just look at daffodils without all of these associations.
We don't have daffodils where I live, and I love them. Every year around this time, I start asking people to send me daffodil photos. Why? I already know what they look like. I have photos from past years I could look at. But somehow, every year I want to see this year's daffodils. I'm not entirely sure why.
This year, my daughter told me she hadn't seen any yet. (She's way far north right now.) A friend said she'd transplanted hers and they hadn't bloomed, and she felt funny about sneaking into her neighbors' yards to take photos.
But then I saw this photo on my daily photo page, where people doing 365 Picture Today share their pictures. I asked for and obtained permission from the photographer, Dana Smith, to use it for a poem and to share it here. Thank you, Dana!
Side by side sunbursts
One flower, one made of light
Daffodil and star
One a yellow close-up,
One ninety-three million miles
Above this spring scene
After I saw this photo and decided to be satisfied with it and accept that nobody I actually knew was going to send me daffodil photos, boom! Daffodil photos poured in! One friend posted not just daffodils, but all the lovely spring flowers in her yard, on Facebook and tagged me. Here are some of those photos, shared with permission (photo credit: Jill Evely):
Bunches of springtime
Gathered only in my mind
Armloads of sunshine
I recently followed a Facebook page called "Drawing Wilmore," in which the talented artist Libby Beaty posts daily pencil drawings from Wilmore, Kentucky, a town where I've spent a lot of time. Libby posted some forsythia, and I got bold enough to make a request: would she post daffodils? And she did! She too gave me permission to share:
Narcissus fell in love with his own reflection
in a woodland pool,
fascinated by his own beauty,
unable to take his eyes off himself.
He couldn’t move away from the water
because that would mean leaving that sight behind.
Finally he turned into a flower.
Narcissus flowers sit for their portrait,
preening slightly as the wind blows them
into attractive disarray.
Of course you want to draw us,
is their attitude.
We don’t blame you one bit.
Another friend sent a photo of some daffodils in a field, right next to some grape hyacinths. Above, the spring sky was speckled with white clouds. As I looked at the picture, I could feel the breeze; it seemed to me I knew just the chill in the air. The trees in the distance still had no leaves. These flowers were the forerunners of spring, but it seemed it hadn't 100% finished arriving. (Photo credit: Joy Dupree)
Purple and yellow
straight from the color wheel
luxuriate on a green background
in the spring afternoon.
In the distance,
sky still has the pale blue of winter,
trees are leafless.
Anything could happen;
it could even snow again.
The flowers don’t care.
It’s art for art’s sake
out here in the field.
Feel free to stop by.
Check out today's line in the Progressive Poem!
April 1 Kat Apel at Kat Whiskers
2 Linda Mitchell at A Word Edgewise
3 Mary Lee at A Year of Reading
4 Donna Smith at Mainly Write
5 Irene Latham at Live your Poem
6 Jan Godown Annino at BookseedStudio
7 Rose Cappelli at Imagine the Possibilities
8 Denise Krebs at Dare to Care
9 Margaret Simon at Reflections on the Teche
10 Molly Hogan at Nix the Comfort Zone
11 Buffy Silverman
12 Janet Fagel at Reflections on the Teche
13 Jone Rush MacCulloch
14 Susan Bruck at Soul Blossom Living
15 Wendy Taleo at Tales in eLearning
16 Heidi Mordhorst at my juicy little universe
17 Tricia Stohr Hunt at The Miss Rumphius Effect
18 Linda Baie at Teacher Dance
19 Carol Varsalona at Beyond Literacy Link
20 Robyn Hood Black at Life on the Deckle Edge
21 Leigh Anne Eck at A Day in the Life
22 Ruth Hersey at There is No Such Thing as a God-forsaken Town
23 Janice Scully at Salt City Verse
24 Tabatha Yeatts at The Opposite of Indifference
25 Shari Daniels at Islands of my Soul
26 Tim Gels at Yet There is Method at https://timgels.com
27 Rebecca Newman
28 Catherine Flynn at Reading to the Core
29 Christie Wyman at Wondering and Wondering
30 Michelle Kogan at More Art 4 All