Sunday, 20 January 2013

Daffodils, Mum, and Memories

Daffodil under fresh fallen snow - Trinity College, Oxford
the day after Nick and Rachel's wedding in early April, 2008

Wordsworth's Daffodils
Daffodils are one of our family symbols of warmth and laughter. Mum must have memorized Wordsworth's poem as a child in school. So did we. At any moment, driving hither and yon (we did a lot of that as a family), Mum would begin to spout, "I wandered lonely as a cloud...." We had daffies in the garden when we were growing up on Lafayette in Montreal South. There were daffies at Mum's and Burt's home in South Bolton. Mum travelled to the UK, including Wordsworth country, all alone when her divorce from Dad became final and as it was spring, she 'wandered lonely as a cloud..." In 2008, I was in the UK for the first time in the spring - to preside at Nick and Rach's wedding. I saw daffodils gently dancing in the breeze everywhere, and lambs hopping and skipping about the fields... Spring! Hope. New life.

Daffodils are such a joy-full flower. Sometimes, gazing at a daffodil, it feels as if God has just created yellow. Tomorrow it will be 18 years since Mum died. A young 75. She battled cancer with such courage. She stared it in the eye and would not let it get her down. She attended Kevin and Monica's wedding and danced with the groom. She would be so very proud to see her grandchildren grown up, and her great-grandchildren in the process of doing so - creative, courageous, loving, and wonder-full. She'd love them to bits. P'raps she does from afar - or from as near as our breaths and memories.

The day of her funeral at St. Mark's, Longueuil, we had daffodils covering her coffin. Such a blaze of yellow and of life.

We remember you, Mum, with so much love. We had daffodils for you at church this morning, and we recited Wordsworth's poem for you. And when they flash upon my inward eye, I remember you. So, here's the poem ... I hope you're saying it with us ... 


I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud

by William Wordsworth
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.

3 comments:

  1. A beautiful tribute to your Mum and to the flower. Thanks for also sharing the poem.

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  2. She would have adored her great grans; she was generous enough to extend her love to mine. I always think of her on Kate's birthday; she had the date and the cake all set even tho I forgot which day it was. I love that poem. I loved your mom:)

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