Friday, April 02, 2021

Poetry Friday: NPM Spring Cleaning Day 2, Daffodils from Afar


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!



March Day

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.
Of course.
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)


Springtime Installation

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
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

Mary Lee has today's roundup. And here's a roundup at Soul Blossom Living of people's NPM projects.  It's only the second day, so I can't be too proud of myself, but so far in April I've posted every day! Yesterday's post, including a poem by John O'Donnell published in the Irish Times last spring, is here


Mary Lee said...

We are, indeed, "corrupt with reading." A fabulous corruption -- the more the better, I say! I can't walk past blooming trees in this season without saying aloud or in my head, "Loveliest of trees the cherry now..." or "Nature's first green is gold..."

I'll be thinking about that window frame/margins of the page for a long time. Thanks! More corruption!

Bridget Magee said...

Thank you for the "Armloads of sunshine" that is this post, Ruth. :)

SW said...

Love your posts! Love the flowers! Love you!

michelle kogan said...

What a lovely gathering of daffodilly goodness sprouting from all corners of your post Ruth! I love them too, and especially like your lines in "March Day"
"One a yellow close-up,
One ninety-three million miles
Above this spring scene"
I"m looking forward to our temps rising and drawing a few narcissus in my backyard, thanks!

Linda B said...

I haven't seen one either, but we have other "armloads of sunshine", Ruth. I always love the way you tell the stories of your poems & process in the post. The gifts across the miles of those daffodils made me smile, along with what you wrote about them. Those final lines - yes! "It’s art for art’s sake/out here in the field./Feel free to stop by." Happy Easter!

Leigh Anne Eck said...

This is such a happy post! Bridget is right - it is an armload of sunshine! I love "side by side sunburst" and I didn't even see that at first. Beautiful!

Sally Murphy said...

SO much daffodilly goodness to love in this post, Ruth. By chance I have just planted some daffodils this week, ready to bloom in my spring. Poke me in September if you don't see any daffodils on my blog, and I will send you a picture, assuming they do what I want them to do :)

Buffy Silverman said...

Those bunches of springtime are starting to bloom in my neck of the woods--sending you a virtual armload!

Fran Haley said...

That page about cardinals, Ruth - what a treasure and a truth. I have loved cardinals since I was a child. Your post is full of golden goodness in every line - so much beauty. I am struck by the generosity of others sending the daffodil bouquet you longed for, of this year's blooms. All so lovely.

Kay said...

Yes, that line corrupt with reading resonated with me, too. I will have to send you my daffodil picture. The ones we transplanted when we moved two years ago finally bloomed again, though they are less than half the height they used to be.

Heidi Mordhorst said...

That page is a most beautiful, dense piece of writing...and yet every year I'm surprised by the daffodils, by their gumption and promptness. I'm so happy you've had a steady stream of daffodil gifts, so many chances to literarily taxiderm the living that you love. We can't help ourselves, can we?

Tabatha said...

Thanks for sharing your poet's heart with us! I would love to have a picture of that daffodil and sun next to my computer.

Michelle Heidenrich Barnes said...

Serendipitous gifts, all these daffodils! "Armloads of sunshine" could well describe this whole post, Ruth. Such a pleasure to walk through.