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Apr 07 2012

Going Daffy For Ophelia

A while back, Ophelia mentioned she wants more daffodils. I live to serve.

Seward Park Daffodils I

I’m sorry to admit that daffodils aren’t my favorite. I was half-fascinated by them as a child. They were large and definite and presented opportunities for examining stamens and stigmas and other bits of a flower (I always loved how sticky the stigma felt). I was one of those children who used to wait for the daffodils to bloom just so I could pull them apart and see how how all the bits worked. But I liked the tulips better. They smelled nicer, and they weren’t yellow. Yellow and I aren’t the best of friends.

Also, the leaves are a bit boring.

Still. They’re an emblem of spring. And lots of people like them. Perhaps a poem will elicit some feelings of wonder and appreciation.

Daffodils

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.

Seward Park Daffodils II

No. Not feeling it. Feeling a bit like Susan, actually, from Terry Pratchett’s Soul Music, where she’s reading for class.

It was a poem about daffodils.

Apparently the poet had liked them very much.

Susan was quite stoic about this. It was a free country. People could like daffodils if they wanted to. They just should not, in Susan’s very definite and precise opinion, be allowed to take up more than a page to say so.

I can sympathize. Then again, Susan’s always been one of those story people I look up to and sometimes wish to emulate, so it could be a tinge of hero-worship skewing my opinion.

Seward Park Daffodils III

Daffodils had a rather sinister part to play in Doctor Who, actually.  Remember “Terror of the Autons”? The plastic daffodils and the plot to take over the world and all that? One’s perspective on daffodils becomes rather warped after watching “Terror of the Autons.”

And they don’t even have to be plastic controlled by the Nestene Consciousness to be dangerous: the bulbs and leaves have got lycorine in them. An alkaloid poison. Yummy.

Can science rescue their reputation? I believe it can. Because it turns out you can get galantamine from them, which is used to treat Alzheimer’s, so that’s a little bit of all right, then. Makes me feel rather more fondly toward the yellow buggers.

Seward Park Daffodils III

Also, there’s this rather nice song.

There. Feeling rather more fondly towards daffodils. There’s some daffodils at the end of my road. Perhaps I’ll go dance with them. Although the people who planted them might become upset…

1 comment

  1. 1
    'Tis Himself

    Daffodils are inoffensive flowers. I could understand if you were objecting to venus fly traps or the hideously smelling stinking corpse lilies but expressing hate on daffodils is a bit much.

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