It’s the last day of February, and the daffodils are in bloom. Perhaps there aren’t ten thousand visible at a single glance, but there are certainly a great number in all different spaces, from public parks and private gardens to pub yards and churchyards.
In a few weeks, there will be all different colours and varieties, but for the moment, even though the flowers vary from the tiniest miniature blooms to the more standard, they are mostly yellow and quite traditional in shape.
Some have slightly shaped different trumpets. Maybe with an extra ruffle like these in the churchyard:
Or narrower and more elongated, like this slightly stylised miniature:
Some could almost be mistaken for the plastic Omo daffodils of my childhood:
While others have a slightly more orange tinge:
Although I probably have more photos of daffodils than of any other flower on this blog, and have written about them time and again, they don’t feature in many of my poems.
They do appear in a couple of pieces in their role as heralds of spring, referred to as “fanfare daffodils” in one piece, and, more obliquely, as “King Alfred’s clarions” in another.
I think, though, that perhaps they come into their own in this piece:
Towards High Barnet
We’re moled and burrowing
through London’s longest stretch
of tunnelling dark, until East Finchley
where sudden sunlight dazzles us.
A shock of daffodils tousels the embankment.
Ivy-drab drapes a dull brick wall
beyond which, an old man digs for victory
against perennial weeds in his allotment.
A A Milne – whose essays are every bit as entertaining as Winnie the Pooh – declared that the daffodil was his favourite flower.
One of the reasons he gives to justify the choice is that the daffodil comes “before all the many flowers of summer; it comes on the heels of a flowerless winter.”
He also points out that “the daffodil cries aloud to be picked,” going on to say that while other flowers need greenery, “daffodils can stand by themselves in a bowl, and their green and yellow dress brings all spring into the room.”
Today the daffodils in public parks and private gardens, in pub yards and churchyards are particularly glorious as they are displaying their charms in bright sunshine.
Of course, the British weather being what it is, the chances are that we won’t see the sun again until the week after next. Already, some of the blooms are the worse for wear because of the wind – or perhaps the cats. If this were in my garden, it would have been rescued and put in a jam jar, but instead I had to leave it where it was in a corporation flower bed and go to the supermarket to buy a bunch of daffs for St David’s day.
on my windowsill
a jar of sunshine