Daffodils in the Snow – Hope Springs Eternal

Symbols of hope and survival bobbing away in the first snows of spring this morning. ©Photograph: John Reidy
Symbols of hope and survival bobbing away in the first snows of spring this morning. ©Photograph: John Reidy

The daffodil means many things to many people and more recently because of its association with the fight against cancer. It has become a veritable symbol of hope for people living with the disease.
The very sight of the little yellow bud breaking cold, wet and often freezing ground couldn’t but inspire hope in this continuing spell of spirit testing weather.
And this morning they have snow to contend with and they’re still bobbing away on the breeze.
In the contrasting events of the terrible sadness of Sunday’s tragic accident in which local woman, Mary Cotter lost her life while enjoying the company of friends on a mountain in West Kerry – and, in the madness of the murderous carry-on in Dublin, it would be easy to forget that there’s still a world where people like William Wordsworth lived.
Where he saw a swathe of daffodils dancing in the wind while out walking with his sister, Dorothy on a windy day in the North West of England in the early 1800s.
What he saw obviously impressed him. However, it wasn’t until he read what Dorothy had written in her diary about the encounter with the daffodils that he composed one of his most famous poems.
Because of the morning that’s in it and because of the arrival of the first snows of spring and the sadness of the weekend’s events, we can take hope and a ramble through Wordsworth’s poem.
Some might say it’s not the one they learned at school – and maybe it’s not as this was the first go he had at it in 1804 and he revised it several times over a ten-year period.

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 dancing Daffodils;
Along the Lake, beneath the trees,
Ten thousand dancing in the breeze.

The waves beside them danced, but they
Outdid the sparkling waves in glee: —
A poet could not but be gay
In such a laughing 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.