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A Little Encouragement

First Daffodil In Flower

First Daffodil In Flower

Here in the English Lake District we have William Wordsworth. He wrote “I wander lonely as a cloud” about his sisters description of the daffodils they found on an April walk. He published two versions of it, actually. Like any good writer he was constantly tinkering with his work.

My first contribution to daffodil literature came in March 2012:

A lonely cloud? In springtime? Over daffodils?
I think not!
All nature bursting
winters bonds and thirsting
for rain. A lone cloud? Oh, no
There’ll be a lot.

Then, in April 2013, there was:

The daffodils in the wood, in the sun, are a lovely sight
So I’m sorry about this Will but, I’m afraid Dorothy was right
I know she was only your sister and sibling rivalry is the rule.
Was that what, when you came to write the poem, made you decide you’ll
not even mention that you were together on that blustery day?
Would she have written it differently if she’d had her say?
But then, when you were writing it, of course, you couldn’t have guessed,
that ‘I wandered lonely as a cloud’ would turn out to be one of your best.

I even went all misty-eyed – after all April was National Poetry Writing Month:

Ah. Yes! Those were the days, when all the songs were golden
Those big brass bands. Those 78s. Oh yes, the olden
days, the olden days. The front-men stand, the saxes bark.
Sevenths, thirteenths wail on top and underneath the dark
round sound of the trombone, bassoon and double bass
The clarinet flies up above and climbs its high staircase
Hey, Daff! Man. Swing it cool and sweet. Blow that horn! Pure gold!
The music lives, forever young. It’s just me, that’s getting old.

But I have to say that the daffodil poem I like best is Daffodowndilly by A.A. Milne (of Winnie the Pooh fame) who also wrote a very entertaining essay on daffodils in which he confided that they were his favourite flower. Some parts of the Internet place this poem in ‘Now We Are Six’ but it’s in my copy of ‘When We Were Very Young’.

Daffodowndilly by A.A.Milne

She wore her yellow sun-bonnet,
She wore her greenest gown;
She turned to the south wind
And curtsied up and down.
She turned to the sunlight
And shook her yellow head,
And whispered to her neighbour:
“Winter is dead.”

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. 2014-02-28 at 19:11

    Wonderful. Love that last poem. Love daffodils, too. We have Thoreau who wrote Walden in our area.

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    • 2014-03-01 at 00:38

      Good – glad you haven’t just been lying there groaning.

      Thanks for the prompt – I’ve always meant to read Waldon – gosh it’s hard work. – Did that man use words! It reminds me a bit of Richard Jefferies, he wrote around 1850 – 1900 too – one of his books ‘Bevis’, must be my favourite children’s book of all time.

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      • 2014-03-01 at 03:41

        The first chapter of Walden is work, but it improves. 🙂

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      • 2014-03-01 at 14:25

        I think I will probably have to read it two or three times – I get the feeling, often, that he is being sarcastic in some way that was obvious in the 18/1900s but goes right over my head today.
        I thought I knew my mythology but all the Mythological references are stretching me! (Wikipedia is glowing red hot – it’s never worked so hard in its life – with Greeks, Romans and what was happening the world around 1850) – Also, he is obviously working out his own personal philosophy and his arguments get a trifle convoluted occasionally. – As you can tell, I’m enjoying it!
        By coincidence, I’ve just read John Buchan’s autobiography – he of ‘Thirty Nine Steps’ fame – he was born around that time too and he also insisted that Greek and Roman literature should be read in its original language. (When I was at school, I struggled through a couple of chapters of Hannibal crossing the Alps) Education has changed so much hasn’t it?
        I wonder how you could tell if it was better or worse – or, most probably just different.

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      • 2014-03-01 at 14:48

        These days kids study Greek by watching the Percy Jackson movies. Deep sigh.

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      • 2014-03-01 at 18:04

        Maybe that isn’t too bad.

        We give ‘Myths and Legends’ authority just because they are old – but in their day they were only the equivalent of ‘Dallas’ – or whatever it is today – just a good entertaining story about the titillating antics of those with wealth and power.

        So if the kids today are getting just the essence of the old stories that must be a plus.

        The original stories themselves, are full of the inconsistencies acquired from being passed on by generations of oral story tellers – so I really doubt that a mere film maker can do much worse – and who knows, some of today’s TV addicts might want to go back and find the original stories one day.

        Wouldn’t it be great if you wrote a story that was re-told and re-told for a thousand years, even if it was scarcely recognisable by the end?

        I’d love it – but I’d still think my original was better than all this modern rubbish!

        I’ve never watched Percy Jackson, and perhaps I shouldn’t – I do get quite vocal when I disagree with things on the TV – Hmmm perhaps not just on the TV. Is it all just good clean innocent violence like the originals?

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      • 2014-03-01 at 20:45

        They are pretty exciting stories about the demigods, half human, half god, mostly. In the first, a thief has stolen the lightning from Zeus and a war is brewing. In the second, they need the Golden Fleece to save someone. Two rival factions among the demigods face off. It’s good clean fun.

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      • 2014-03-01 at 21:27

        Sounds like they are carrying on the tradition!

        I’ve just re-written three traditional Fairy Stories (3 Bears, 3 Little Pigs and 3 Billy Goats Gruff) under the censorial eye of my two daughters. You would be surprised at the amount of ingenuity required to remove some of the gorier parts – 3 Little Pigs was the worst – that poor wolf! Although, Goldilocks, who jumped out of the window of the Three Bears’ house and was impaled on the spire of St Paul’s Cathedral comes high on the list.

        I was thinking of doing the same for a few Greek legends – but it isn’t easy to maintain the integrity of the stories and remove the gratuitous sex and violence – so that’s been put on the back burner for the moment.

        If I remember, the younger Grimm brother complained of the same problem, with their folk tales, when he was editing them into stories for children. – I seem to remember, too, that his elder brother strongly disapproved, and would have nothing to do with the children’s tales.

        It seems that this is also part of a long tradition!

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      • 2014-03-01 at 23:34

        Yes, it isn’t easy telling friendly fairy tales, actually. I retold the three little pigs on my website if you are interested. It’s the only retelling that’s up. I think if you search for Daddy Fat Hog you’ll find it. 🙂 Are you going to put up your fairy tales?

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      • 2014-03-01 at 23:49

        I was at one time – then I got interested in ebooks and then I thought it might be nice to see if anyone would actually buy one of my stories and that meant I needed a different web site – and so it went on and on. Now I’m not sure what I really want to do any more (or even what I’m doing – but no change there).

        The audio version I made for my grandson Finley – is here – I’ll leave it open for a few days – let me know if it works for you – thanks

        [audio src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/ansur.demon.co.uk/home/david/Fiction/AudioStories/TheThreeLittlePigs-Master-01.mp3" /]

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      • 2014-03-02 at 00:03

        I’ll listen to it if I can ever get my kids to be quiet. 🙂 Maybe after dinner.

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      • 2014-03-02 at 00:04

        Thank you very much – it’s not a patch on Daddy Fat Hog though – I loved it!

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      • 2014-03-02 at 00:30

        We all listened and loved it!! Loved them giving the wolf a fright and then eventually rolling him down the hill inside the pot. I will happily imagine him to be treacle. I’m so happy you liked my rock star children pigs. LOL

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      • 2014-03-02 at 01:18

        I did, I did. They were the greatest!

        Thank you very much for listening!

        I hope the work of the board of censors didn’t show up too much – I also did Beauty and the Beast – but that was rejected out of hand – they are both boys though – 3 and 4 at the time, so maybe that was it.
        The granddaughter has just had her 2nd birthday so I might try again in a couple of years with that.
        Oh Crumbs – it’s nearly 1:30 a.m. here – I’d better go to bed!!!!
        David

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      • 2014-03-02 at 01:32

        Mine are 4 to 12 and they loved it!

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