Friday, 11 March 2011

Celandines - a poem on a day of loss

Yesterday, thousands lost their lives in Japan. The immensity of what has happened is almost too much to take in. Here, after a week in tight bud, the celandines have opened at last. Bright stars of hope at the beginning of spring. For Edward Thomas, the coming of celandines reminded him of a deep and personal loss.


Thinking of her had saddened me at first,
Until I saw the sun on the celandines lie
Redoubled, and she stood up like a flame,
A living thing, not what before I nursed,
The shadow I was growing to love almost,
The phantom, not a creature with bright eye
That I had thought never to see, once lost.

She found the celandines of February
Always before us all. Her nature and name
Were like those flowers, and now immediately
For a short swift eternity back she came,
Beautiful, happy, simply as when she wore
Her brightest bloom among the winter hues
Of all the world; and I was happy too,
Seeing the blossoms and the maiden who
Had seen them with me February`s before,
Bending to them as in and out she trod
And laughed, with locks sweeping the mossy sod.

But this was a dream: the flowers were not true,
Until I stooped to pluck from the grass there
One of five petals and I smelt the juice
Which made me sigh, remembering she was no more,
Gone like a never perfectly recalled air.

By Edward Thomas


WOL said...

The scale of this disaster is difficult to grasp. So many lives changed so irrevokably. Unlike Katrina, which took days to play out, in a matter of minutes, their whole world was left in shambles. One wishes them courage and fortitude as they struggle to cope.

rachel said...

How beautiful that poem is!

It's too early for our celandines, but not long now.....