It Only Happens Once a Year

The first sighting of daffodils each year makes my heart sing and evokes the fondest thoughts of my late mother and father, both of whom adored the flowers, and the poems associated with them.

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Mother with Daffodils Photo: Frank Tubridy

Well, today was the day of days. I was driving from Passage East into Waterford City and there on a bank on the side of the road the gleam of yellow had me enthralled, with all thoughts of the political crisis in Northern Ireland, Brexit and the coming of Donald Trump disappearing from my cluttered mind.

daffodil-road
Daffodil Road

I’m not sure if anyone can see daffodils without finding themselves quoting line after line of William Wordsworth’s The Daffodils. I certainly can’t as it is a poem that has embroidered my heart since I was a tot and the yellow threads grow deeper each year:

The Daffodils

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.

(William Wordsworth)

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Heart

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Words: Past, Present and Future

Being a hoarder has its moments and this morning brought one of those.

I unearthed pages of a quote-a-day calendar that my  mother had kept from 1983. There are just thirteen of them so she was pretty selective about what she kept.

Reading through them is like hearing Mother speak to me and I’ve picked out the ones that spell her to me:

A wise old owl sat in an oak,

The more he saw the less he spoke,

The less he spoke the more he heard,

Why can’t we all be like that wise old bird.

Anonymous: Punch, 1895

Owls were among Mother’s passions and I still cringe when I think of how I broke her precious owl vase while practicing my tennis indoors one wet day.

Laughter is not at all a bad beginning for a friendship, and it is by far the best ending for one.

(Oscar Wilde 1854-1900)

This makes me think of her absolute insistence that all rows in the house be made up before sleep. “Never let the sun go down upon your anger.”

People say that life is the thing, but I prefer reading

Logan Pearsall Smith (1865-1946)

It would be impossible to overstate the importance of reading in Mother’s life. She was an avid reader from a very early age and books like Pride and Prejudice were on her agenda when she was eight or nine years of age. Mercifully, she passed on her love of reading to all of us kids.

And how often did I hear her quote these lines when I was asking her for advice about ‘big’ decisions:

This above all: to thine own self be true,

And it must follow as the night the day,

Thou canst not then be false to any man.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616)

And, it’s always good to find jottings on things. (That handwriting of hers is so, so familiar). Here’s another of her choices but with her note-to-self (and now to me) added on to it:

Quote

And I simply have to add in this one as it maybe solves the mystery of why she and Dad had such differing views about dandelions on the lawn. He saw them as a scourge and she loved them:

You fight dandelions all weekend, and late Monday afternoon there they are, pert as all get out, in full and gorgeous bloom, pretty as can be, thriving as only dandelions can in the face of adversity. 

Hal Borland (1900-1978)

I think I’ll get myself a quote-a-day calendar for this year and stash away my favourites for posterity. It could be a lovely gift for Harry one January day when he would like to re-connect. Oh, and I’ll be sure to make a few jottings as I go along.