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Poetry Friday: Daffodils

Spring is here!

Officially, on the calendar, and unofficially (or is it more officially?), in nature.

Every day we see more blooms.

yellow daffodils with green leaves with dark purple crocuses in the background. The ground is covered in brown leaves.

photo © 2022, Elisabeth Norton

Snowdrops were followed by crocuses, and now the daffodils are stealing the show. 

A field of yellow daffodils with a mix of evergreen an deciduous trees with bare branches in the background.

photo © 2022, Elisabeth Norton

This expanse of daffodils, which we see on our lunchtime walks, has been reminding me of William Wordsworth's classic poem about daffodils every time we pass it, so this week I decided to reread it and look for other poems about daffodils. 

Daffodils by William Wordsworth

I wander'd 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.

                        read the rest of the poem here

Though we're not walking over hills and vales, Wordsworth's poem definitely captures the rush of joy I feel each time our path takes us past this gentle slope carpeted in daffodils.

My search for other poems about daffodils led me to a new-to-me poem, by a new-to-me poet, Alicia Ostriker. Her poem feels particularly appropriate for this spring, as war continues in Ukraine.

I like how this poem is in dialogue with other writers, including Wordsworth and his poem about daffodils, and how Ostriker wrestles with the cognitive dissonance of a beautiful spring day juxtaposed against the outbreak of war, and I love the last two lines of the poem. 

Daffodils by Alicia Ostriker

—for David Lehman

Ten thousand saw I at a glance

Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

—William Wordsworth

Going to hell so many times tears it

Which explains poetry.

—Jack Spicer

The day the war against Iraq begins

I’m photographing the yellow daffodils

With their outstretched arms and ruffled cups

Blowing in the wind of Jesus Green

Edging the lush grassy moving river

Along with the swans and ducks

Under a soft March Cambridge sky

Embellishing the earth like a hand

Starting to illustrate a children’s book

Where people in light clothes come out

To play, to frisk and run about

With their lovers, friends, animals, and children

As down every stony back road of history

They’ve always done in the peaceful springs

—Which in a sense is also hell because

The daffodils do look as if they dance

                    read the rest of the poem or listen to the poet read it here

I hope that wherever you are (whatever the season), you are finding beauty in what surrounds you.

Thanks for stopping by to read about daffodils today. Our host for Poetry Friday this week is Amy Ludwig VanDerwater over at The Poem Farm. Wander over to her corner of the internet to see what other poetic goodness waits to greet you today.


  1. Elisabeth, a marvelous post. So thoughtful and thought provoking. I do wonder, how do we go on...just living like a new spring is the only thing on our minds when our neighbors are getting blown to bits. There is beauty here.

  2. Wow. That Alicia Ostriker poem. It is a gut punch and a celebration. It is hard to hold horror and hope in one breath and yet we do...we do. Here in Western New York, we're still in the snowdrop season. And snow itself comes tomorrow. I look forward to those yellow hills and remembering Professor Eugene Stelzig reciting Wordsworth to us 30 years ago in Wells Hall. Thank you for your words and images today. xo

  3. I love daffodils - they are my very favorite spring flower! Thank you for sharing daffodil poems from some famous and new-to-me writers alike! Spring is here- although our bulbs have not yet sprouted from the ground here in the upper midwest. Carol from The Apples in My Orchard.

  4. Wow, that's quite a poem, and perfect for how things feel now. Our daffodils are out too, what a strange spring.

  5. Like Amy said, "Hard to hold horror and hope in one breath and yet we do..."

  6. Oh, my, oh, my. Is nothing so different since 2005, the daffodils again, the dancing, the warring, eternally. Brilliant find.

  7. Elisabeth, thank you for sharing the daffodils poems and the beautiful photos. That Wordsworth poem captures your photo, especially:

    "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."

    Thank you!

  8. Wow, really apropos. Thank you for the Alicia Ostriker poem; I listened to it. I especially like the lines "Look at this light/And color, a splash of brilliant yellow/Punctuating an emerald text" So beautiful.

  9. Elisabeth, I love how you showcase the blooming in stunning photographs. flowers that are the hit of spring. I found a beautiful line in "Daffodils" by Alicia Ostriker, "Punctuating an emerald text, white fact that whole stanza was worth reading several times. There is beauty in this world and pain. Thanks for the poems by Wordsworth and Ostriker.

  10. Wow that ending to Alicia Ostriker's poem is powerful,

    "Nothing. Period. Don’t you think
    It is our business to defend it
    Even the day our masters start a war?
    To defend the day we see the daffodils?"
    Thanks for sharing her with us, and for all the beautiful spring flowers!


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