The Daffodils!

“Dance of the Daffodil”

A couple of weeks ago my friend, Laurie of Color Poems, mentioned in a comment the daffodils growing in her garden.  I promised that if she posted them, I would quote William Wordsworth’s poem, “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud”–commonly known as “The Daffodils”–in honor of her gorgeous yellow blooms.  Laurie not only shared her beauties but she dedicated the blog post to me “in gratitude.”

My weary soul is touched by her gesture, and I’m getting through the remainder of this week reminded that there is indeed kindness in the world.

I posted Wordsworth’s poem on my blog four years ago, but I hope you don’t mind my reposting.

Like Wordsworth, I have been thrilled over the flowering of spring and have spent much time in nature the last couple of weeks meditating and re-centering. It’s amazing how just a few moments away can elevate the mood and change the outlook.

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.

Thank you, Laurie, for brightening my week.  I, too, am grateful our “paths” crossed.

Until next time…Have joy!

 

Mini Collection: Poetry on Postcards

If you love poetry and postcards, you’ll love poetry on postcards.  That was the title of a series of swaps hosted by MissWhimsy in the “Book Lovers Congregate” group on swap-bot.  The series ran quite regularly for several months, so I have a lot to share. However, I don’t want to overload your brain with too much poetry in one post, so I’ll showcase a selection of the postcards now and save the others for another time.  In fact, as I considered which postcards to share, I thought of my British Literature students who have been doing an excellent job micro-teaching Renaissance, Neoclassical, Romantic, and Victorian poets. For the last couple of weeks, the lessons have focused on the Romantic and the Victorian poets, so tonight I will share the postcards that were sent honoring a handful of those poets.  I will do my best not to comment on how and why I love the poets and poems and leave you to simply enjoy the little collection.  Postcards were either store bought or handmade, and in most cases, senders tried to match the postcard to the theme or poet in some way.

From Minxy1964: Wordworth Heritage: Dove Cottage; Poet's Sea, Grasmere: River Rydal. Photos by Phil Insley

From Minxy1964: Wordworth Heritage: Dove Cottage; Poet’s Seat; Grasmere; River Rydal. Photos by Phil Insley

This first card (above) was actually sent for a different type of swap, but it fits the theme and bears the face of the first poet.

"Clock Tower (Big Ben) House of Parliament (1858). Architects: Sir Charles Barry, A.W.N. Pugin. 3-D Postcard

From “Owlsinathens”: “Clock Tower (Big Ben) House of Parliament (1858). Architects: Sir Charles Barry, A.W.N. Pugin. 3-D Postcard

William Wordsworth (1770-1850)
“London, 1802”

Milton! thou shouldst be living at this hour:
England hath need of thee: she is a fen
Of stagnant waters: altar, sword, and pen,
Fireside, the heroic wealth of hall and bower,
Have forfeited their ancient English dower
Of inward happiness. We are selfish men;
Oh! raise us up, return to us again;
And give us manners, virtue, freedom, power.
Thy soul was like a Star, and dwelt apart:
Thou hadst a voice whose sound was like the sea:
Pure as the naked heavens, majestic, free,
So didst thou travel on life’s common way,
In cheerful godliness; and yet thy heart
The lowliest duties on herself did lay.

 

"There Be None of Beauty's Daughters," Handmade postcard by Maranda.

From Maranda: “There Be None of Beauty’s Daughters.” Handmade postcard.

George Gordon Byron, Lord Byron (1788-1824)
“There Be None of Beauty’s Daughters”

There be none of Beauty’s daughters
With a magic like thee;
And like music on the waters
Is thy sweet voice to me:
When, as if its sound were causing
The charmèd ocean’s pausing,
The waves lie still and gleaming,
And the lull’d winds seem dreaming:

And the midnight moon is weaving
Her bright chain o’er the deep;
Whose breast is gently heaving
As an infant’s asleep:
So the spirit bows before thee,
To listen and adore thee;
With a full but soft emotion,
Like the swell of Summer’s ocean.

 

From MommyKnows: Watercolor Postcard, Floral Still Life, Arum Flower. Pepin van Roojen.

From MommyKnows: Watercolor Postcard, Floral Still Life, Arum Flower. Pepin van Roojen.

Sonnet. “Written Upon the Top of Ben Nevis”
John Keats (1795-1821)

Read me a lesson, Muse, and speak it loud
Upon the top of Nevis, blind in mist!
I look into the chasms, and a shroud
Vapourous doth hide them, — just so much I wist
Mankind do know of hell; I look o’erhead,
And there is sullen mist, — even so much
Mankind can tell of heaven; mist is spread
Before the earth, beneath me, — even such,
Even so vague is man’s sight of himself!
Here are the craggy stones beneath my feet,–
Thus much I know that, a poor witless elf,
I tread on them, — that all my eye doth meet
Is mist and crag, not only on this height,
But in the world of thought and mental might!

 

From MissWhimsy: "West Front and Paine's Bridge over the River Derwent, Chatsworth." Chatsworth, Home of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire.

From MissWhimsy: “West Front and Paine’s Bridge over the River Derwent, Chatsworth.” Chatsworth, Home of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire.

XXXIX. “Because thou hast the power and own’st the grace”
Elizabeth Barrett Browning (‏ (1806-1861

Because thou hast the power and own’st the grace
To look through and behind this mask of me
(Against which years have beat thus blanchingly
With their rains), and behold my soul’s true face,
The dim and weary witness of life’s race,—
Because thou hast the faith and love to see,
Through that same soul’s distracting lethargy,
The patient angel waiting for a place
In the new Heavens,—because nor sin nor woe,
Nor God’s infliction, nor death’s neighbourhood,
Nor all which others viewing, turn to go,
Nor all which makes me tired of all, self-viewed,—
Nothing repels thee, . . . Dearest, teach me so
To pour out gratitude, as thou dost, good!

 

"The Lady of Shalott." Handmade postcard by Anita.

From Anita: “The Lady of Shalott.” Handmade postcard.

“The Lady of Shalott” is a bit lengthy for posting in its entirety here, but it is worth the read.  The postcard (above) features the sender’s favorite excerpt, but if you want more, here’s the link to the full poem: The Lady of Shalott by Alfred, Lord Tennyson.

I hope you enjoyed the collection of poetry. At some point, I will share more postcards and poetry as well as the poetry-postcards I sent for the “Poetry on Postcard” swaps.  Until then…

 

Color Me Yellow!

Quite a bit of yellow has gone in and out of my mailbox over the last week or two, so this post is all about the yellow. I joined the “May Color: Yellow Photo” swap hosted by swap-bot Sharp Shooter, Lou. Here’s what I sent to my partner:

Close-up, 2013

“Close-up,” 2013

This flower was part of a bright and beautiful bouquet my parents received earlier this year. As much as I love photographing flowers, I know the names of very few of them. If you know what this is, please let me know in the comments section. Thanks!

Yellow Tang, Tennessee Aquarium, 2013

“Yellow Tang,” Tennessee Aquarium, 2013

Found this yellow tang at the Tennessee Aquarium. It is usually difficult to get good shots in aquariums, but I found the TN Aquarium particularly challenging. I was constantly changing the camera settings and hoping for good shots. At one point, I gave up on the fish and just shot photos of plants, flowers and all the outdoor creatures. None of them were yellow, though. 😉

Yellow Weeds aka Wild Flowers

“Yellow Weeds aka Wild Flowers”

These lovely weeds (really, wildflowers) were the inspiration for a swap I hosted, “Pretty Weeds,” but I couldn’t resist sending my “Yellow” partner an advanced copy of the photo. These were taken at a park near our home.

And here’s what my partner, the swap host, sent to me:

"Daffodils," photo by Lou

“Daffodils,” Photo by Lou

When I see daffodils, I’m reminded of two things: (1) the lyrics of song, “I Like the Mountains”–“I like the mountains, I like the rolling hills. I like the flowers. I like the daffodils. I like the fireside when all the lights are low.” (2) Jamaica Kincaid’s Lucy. In the novel, the title character recounts being forced (while in school) to learn a poem about daffodils even though she had never seen one–they did not grow in her “small island” homeplace. If memory serves me well, she sees her first daffodils after moving to the United States to work as an au pair.

"Lemons," photo by Lou

“Lemons,” Photo by Lou

Lemons. Just in time for summer and some nice cool lemonade. Lou shot these photos at the Macy’s Flower Show in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

All of this yellow reminds me of some other yellow that went in and out of my mailbox earlier this year. Beckra, one of my “Professors United” friends, hosted a swap last year entitled “Yellow Flowers for International Women’s Day.” She was a little too busy to handle the swap this year, so she gave me permission to host the swap instead. In some countries, it is customary to exchange flowers on International Women’s Day (IWD)–March 8th–so for the swap individuals sent postcards that incorporated a yellow flower.

I sent two postcards to each of my partners. They were made with Hallmark cardmaking software. I was actually looking through the software for another reason and happened across the sunflowers and the “other” yellow flowers. I sent the sunflowers “as is.” After all, who would tamper with the beauty of sunflowers? I added the 2013 theme for IWD to the “other” flowers. Both were well received. One swap participant expressed her appreciation for the IWD theme for the year, since she herself was a victim of violence.

Yellow Flowers for International Women's Day 2013

“Yellow Flowers for International Women’s Day 2013: Sunflowers”

"Yellow Flowers for International Women's Day 2013: A Promise is a Promise"

“Yellow Flowers for International Women’s Day 2013: A Promise is a Promise”

In return, I received three beautiful postcards–including one from Beckra, who did not participate in the actual swap.

"Waking Up in a New Country," photo by Troy M. Litten

“Waking Up in a New Country,” Photo by Troy M. Litten

“Waking Up” was sent by eepy from Canada. The postcard comes from Wanderlust: 30 Posstcards for Insatiable Travelers. Eepy loves to travel by train and the idea of opening her compartment window and seeing all the yellow flowers in the morning is appealing to her.

"Yellow Flowers for International Women's Day 2013," from Kirstyenarnox, Netherlands

“Yellow Flowers for International Women’s Day 2013”

Kirstyenarnox sent this beautiful yellow flower with love from the Netherlands.

"Yellow Flowers for International Women's Day," Photo by Beckra

“Yellow Flowers for International Women’s Day,” Photo by Beckra

Last, but not least, Beckra sent this stunning close-up of a yellow orchid. She shared a Hortense Calisher quote–“One must give back the store of the universe. Anybody can”–and two of her own centos. Yay for me and my mailbox!

Since I’m now in the mood for William Wordsworth, I leave you with “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud.

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.