About thirty years ago I attended Quaker meetings in Leeds. Every springtime there was one elderly member who could be relied upon to rise to offer ministry which began, ” I was walking to Meeting today and saw the daffodils…” Etc. etc. In our household this annual event became known as Elderly Member’s Daffodil Ministry Sunday. It marked the official opening of springtime in Yorkshire, which can be cold, dreary, and arrive late.
Where we live now in Ireland within both Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark and the Atlantic Area, we enjoy the balmier effects of the Gulf Stream. Even so, when we first moved here an old farmer neighbour told me there was a proverb, “A fair February crushes the rest of the year.” This piece of folklore was followed by the comment of a colleague (who was also a farmer’s wife) -” I don’t know that the old signs hold anymore.” Which is sort of code for the effects of climate change, I think.
We have enjoyed a fair February this year. The bulbs are out in the pots and raised bed for weeks now. The daffodils I planted sixteen years ago are also blooming now along the laneside. So, too, are they at the back of the house. At any rate I am not wandering lonely as a cloud when a daffodil turns up in my poetry practice.
A fair February crushes the rest of the year
...but who can say
the old signs still hold.
Daffodils are remarkably resilient.
Narcissi, too. Seeing as they
only have to look out for themselves.
But if the cold should descend again?
What of the birds?
Their early pairing, nest building...
It's creatures of the earth sold out because
we - you and me - feel so empty
we have made sordid landfill of our hordes.
Meanwhile, the grape hyacinth and croci unfold
their petals. The seasons shall survive
even when the old signs do not hold.
Meanwhile, the cool morning air, sun washed,
blows across the daffodil's face, shaking her awake.
The oldest - eternal - story every told.
Copyright © 2019 Bee Smith. All rights reserved.