Daffodils

Poetry Breakfast ~ at home

 

As we are unable to meet together for our Poetry Breakfasts, I invite you to join us for a virtual session instead.  So, with the help of Tim, Ali and Hilary, I will share ideas for poems, on the theme of each Poetry Breakfast already on our (now redundant) calendar, on a weekly basis.

So the first one we missed should have been at Aardvark Books on the theme of Daffodils! Please add your ideas for poems into the comments box below. If you can’t find online versions to share, just tell us where you found your poem so we can look them up. Feel free to comment on any of the poems, or just simply add your own suggestions.

Sending you all much love!

Anna x

PS The next theme will be ‘Poetry’

The poem I always think of first when daffodils are mentioned, is, of course, that most famous one of all The Daffodils by William Wordsworth. Clare Shaw, a lovely poet from Todmorden, has done a fabulous reading of The Daffodils on Facebook and she very kindly sent me the link.

And for me The Daffodils is always followed now by Gillian Clarke’s moving and wonderful poem Miracle on St David’s Day

I also like Home Pictures in May by John Clare from Selected Poems by John Clare.

For a bit of fun, Daffodowndilly by A A Milne is lovely, thank you Hilary for choosing this one.

Now over to you – suggestions please! (Don’t worry about finding the links to online versions, I’ll do that for you if you don’t have the information, just title and poet is fine.)

23 Comments

  1. Hilary White

    I only ever learnt the first line at school! It is a good poem when you listen to it so beautifully read.

    Reply
    • Anna Dreda

      Clare really reads it with feeling, doesn’t she – none of that sing-song rhyme about it!

      Reply
      • Jo Evans

        What a wonderful reading …thank you..

        Powerful and poignant echo for us all at the moment:

        ‘They flash upon that inward eye
        which is the bliss of solitude’

        Reply
        • Anna Dreda

          It’s a very special reading, isn’t Jo? It feels fresh and contemporary again!

          Reply
  2. Tim Cook

    I have no poem “about” daffodils which I particularly want to share, so here’s an example of how we normally use Anna’s monthly “themes”. I mean, a passing reference will do so long as the poem is worth hearing.

    Carol Ann Duffy’s “Translating the English 1989” (with a subtitle ‘… and much of the poetry, alas, is lost in translation…’).

    It’s in her Collected Poems, also as far as I can tell the collection ‘The Other Country’. I can’t find a link to the full text on line, I’m afraid, and it’s too long to copy out here, but here’s how it starts:

    Welcome to my country! We have here Edwina Currie
    and the Sun newspaper. Much excitement.
    Also the weather has been most improving
    even in February. Daffodils. (Wordsworth. Up North.) If you like
    Shakespeare or even Opera we have too the Black Market.
    For two hundred quids we are talking Les Miserables,
    nods being as good as winks.

    etc etc getting more and more acerbic and at times abusive in ways she’s so good at. Worth looking up and reading aloud to yourself if you have a book to find it in.

    Reply
    • Anna Dreda

      Thanks so much for that, Tim – daffodils, Carol Ann Duffy and Wordsworth all in the one poem!

      Reply
  3. Ali Regrave

    I hope my choice of poem isn’t too sacrilegious! Actually, I don’t think it takes anything away from the real thing; and it gives us a different kind of smile in these difficult times! It’s ‘Why Dorothy Wordsworth is not as Famous as Her Brother’ by Lynn Peters. [I’ve got it in The Virago Book of Wicked Verse edited by Jill Dawson].
    By the way, for those of you who are looking ahead at future Poetry Breakfast themes, maybe this poem and, you may have noticed, definitely the last 6 lines of W. Wordsworth’s poem, too, could be used for ‘Poetry’!
    Ali

    Reply
  4. Ann Wishart

    I’m here! Lovely idea Anna, Tim, Ali, and Hilary. Thanks for all the sharing so far. I’m afraid don’t have anything to add right now. Loved Clare Shaw’s reading of the poem.

    Reply
    • Anna Dreda

      Lovely to ‘see’ you Ann! Lots of love, Anna x

      Reply
  5. Donald Robertson-Adams

    A grand idea Anna. Glad all is well. Life is much improved by this fun and the lovely weather. Hope it lasts.

    One of my contributions at Aardvark was going to be this, albeit tenuous, item. I found this short prose in a book entitled “Over Vales and Hills – the illustrated poetry of the natural world”. Accordingly I use this title to enable it to qualify to be read at a poetry session.

    It is: “WHEN WE WERE IN THE WOODS…” and written in her journal in 1802 by Dorothy Wordsworth. It is said that this inspired William to write his poem.

    PS I found alternative sites with shortened versions and in one there was even a spelling mistake where they saw: “…a shore, about the breadth of a country turnpike toad.”

    Reply
    • Anna Dreda

      Thanks Donald, and for the ‘toad’ too!

      Reply
  6. Philip Browning

    This is an excerpt from the long poem Daffodil Fields by John Masefield:

    There are three fields where daffodils are found;
    The grass is dotted blue-gray with their leaves;
    Their nodding beauty shakes along the ground
    Up to a fir-clump shutting out the eaves
    Of an old farm where always the wind grieves
    High in the fir boughs, moaning; people call
    This farm The Roughs, but some call it the Poor Maid’s Hall.

    There, when the first green shoots of tender corn
    Show on the plough; when the first drift of white
    Stars the black branches of the spiky thorn,
    And afternoons are warm and evenings light,
    The shivering daffodils do take delight,
    Shaking beside the brook, and grass comes green,
    And blue dog-violets come and glistening celandine.

    And there the pickers come, picking for town
    Those dancing daffodils; all day they pick;
    Hard-featured women, weather-beaten brown,
    Or swarthy-red, the colour of old brick.
    At noon they break their meats under the rick.
    The smoke of all three farms lifts blue in air
    As though man’s passionate mind had never suffered there.

    Reply
  7. Lottie

    (I can feel the daffodils… tho they are not mentioned)

    Spring Morning

    O day—if I could cup my hands and drink of you,
    And make this shining wonder be
    A part of me!
    O day! O day!
    You lift and sway your colors on the sky
    Till I am crushed with beauty. Why is there
    More of reeling sunlit air
    Than I can breathe? Why is there sound
    In silence? Why is a singing wound
    About each hour?
    And perfume when there is no flower?
    O day! O Day! How may I press
    Nearer to loveliness?

    Marion Strobel 1922
    (This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on March 22, 2020, by the Academy of American Poets.com: https://poets.org/poem/spring-morning-0)

    Makes me very happy to think of us having a virtual Poetry Breakfast – BRILLIANT idea – thank youxxx

    Reply
  8. Anna Dreda

    What a truly lovely poem, thank you Lottie! Yes, I’m enjoying this connection through poetry, too. Lots of love, Anna x

    Reply
  9. Mary Meddings

    A great idea—-haven’t got anything to add. But hope to in the future.

    ps I ‘ve always loved the poem about Dorothy Wordsworth—used to read it to my students.

    And I read the “St David’s Day” by Gillian Clarke at one poetry breakfast—-one of my favourites—such a great poet. And I got to talk to her at the Working Lunch at our last poetry festival—-golden days!!

    Look forward to your next blog. We need things to take our mind off the current problems. Thanks Anna

    Reply
    • Anna Dreda

      Thank you Mary, more next week! Love, Anna x

      Reply
    • Jude Walker

      Thank you, Anna. What a super idea to share poetry like this…
      It’s been a very long time since I studied The Winter’s Tale (and have never taught it as a set text) but I recall a song that opens a scene in Act 4:
      ‘When daffodils begin to peer…
      Why then comes in the sweet o’the year.. ‘
      I think, for the character (Autolycus the rogue) the sweetness he anticipates is the sort that would raise a few eyebrows… (?!?) however, there is such a joy, isn’t there, in seeing Spring growth and colour after such a wet winter and, right now, as we all look for hope?

      Love, peace and good health to everyone.
      Jude X

      Reply
      • Anna Dreda

        Oh that’s lovely Jude – welcome to Poetry Breakfast! And yes, the miracle of the ordinary – spring flowers, lengthening days, sunlight and frost – so grateful for them all, es ever, and especially now. Anna x

        Reply
  10. Sue Gould

    I haven’t been to Poetry Breakfast for years – and then not often – so nice to have this online version.

    So I reached for a favourite poetry book: ‘Note to Self’ by Jamie K Reaser and it fell open at this page…

    Daffodil

    His yellow smock
    offers no apologies
    for its brazen attempt
    to embody the bold cry
    that we fear might pass
    our own lips.

    Even on culturally accepted
    moments of
    ecstatic inspiration –

    Such as the viewing
    of spring-time blooms –

    So many will remain
    wanton of their
    expression
    of Glory.

    Reply
    • Anna Dreda

      Gosh, that was serendipitous! And what a marvellous poem. I love the ‘wanton of their expression of Glory.’ Thanks for this Sue, Love, Anna x

      Reply
  11. Steve Harrison

    Hello Poetry Breakfast ,
    hope this is the right conduit for poems about poetry.{ Is the Facebook one OK too?}
    I’ll send this link from self distancing in Wellington hoping its got a balance of small enough to send but large enough to see and hear it clearly. Here’s a film of me reading
    https://youtu.be/KxntCVh4t3A

    and as a written piece;
    MISSING ADVERBS

    When I first used an adverb
    in Miss Gilderdale’s class
    I was loved unconditionally

    She said it made me stand out from others’ minds
    {Despite my hand and arm curled around my writing}
    like curly brackets
    protecting it from copycats

    I wasn’t just bashing and braying
    but described how I did it
    with a beady eye for detail

    At Secondary School I waded into French
    got a red tick and squiggle for a constructed labourisement
    marginalised approval by the French teacher who promised

    I’d enjoy Oysters with crisp white wine one day
    Maybe marked me up
    Knowingly

    Now I hear adverbs are superfluous
    Overblown
    outgrown their childish use

    and You’ve turned your ears
    back around
    wanting the exact word.

    Reply

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