English Daffodils

Yesterday was Bill’s mum’s funeral in England. So bittersweet. Saying “good-bye” brings so many people together for the service to honor a loved one.  Funerals are one of those rare  life events, like weddings, that pull family, friends, and acquaintances together. I met so many of my mother-in-laws friends who I’d heard stories about but had never met. I felt like I was being introduced to characters from a book. People approached me saying, “You don’t know me but....”. And I smiled, for I felt I actually did know them through Bill’s mum’s vivid memories that she shared with us. 

And, like the conversations at my grandparents’ funerals, many of us said, “Why do we wait for occasions like this to get together?” Life. It’s movement pulls us into our own grooves. Then that tug of a life event pulls us together in times of great happiness or great sorrow. 

We do not usually visit England this time of year. While the days have been wet and dreary, I’ve been surprised by hosts of daffodils that are absolutely everywhere!  Rather than continuing to peck away on my iPhone, I want to share this with you from 2011:

Norton Anthology of Poetry. Spring. Daffodils. Wordsworth poem. Memorized. Not. It's an annual tradition. Unsure if I found the poem first or the daffs first. But this year, I know exactly where to find the 26-year-old anthology, so I can try yet again to memorize it. The chemo shelves in the basement.

Armed with an empty laundry basket, I head to the basement for a double-errand: dry towels & swim trunks and the big book. At the bottom of the stairs, I'm delighted. I remember both the bag and the book. I open the anthology and briefly glance at the poem. It was still there. I would fold laundry upstairs, then sit for five minutes and read the poem.

Two hours, or two days later, I got the basket to the second floor. And with a few minutes at hand went to pick up the book I had laid on top of the towels. Gone. And so much time had passed since pulling it off the shelf, I have no recollection of where it went.

Call it what you like: multi-tasking; distraction; motherhood; age; chemo brain -- my short-term memory has blown a fuse.

"I wandered lonely as a cloud that floats o'er hills and vales, when all at once I saw a crowd, a host of golden daffodils. I gazed and gazed but little thought what wealth to me this sight had brought. For oft when in pensive mood... inner peace and solitude... sprightly dance." And there is my jumbled favorite poem. I extract its meaning even though I've lost the exact wording.

No appearance of the anthology. But thanks to modern technology, I found the poem. The character of the poem is very different on a clean computer screen. No smell of paper and dust. No notes in the sides. No dog-eared page marking the spot. Wordsworth wrote this in 1804; I think he meant for it to be read from paper. Eternally read from paper.