The snowdrops are out! The first flowering sign of Spring.
This poem by Alice Oswald personifies the snowdrop as a girl, capturing all its fine fragility and beauty, 'her wild-flower sense of woundedness' and strength as harbinger of Spring, 'patience kept intact is now in flower.'
Snowdrop - Alice Oswald
A pale and pining girl, head bowed, heart gnawed,
whose figure nods and shivers in a shawl
of fine white wool, has suddenly appeared
in the damp woods, as mild and mute as snowfall.
She may not last, She has no strength at all,
but stoops and shakes as if she’d stood all night
on one bare foot, confiding with the moonlight.
One morning among several hundred clear-eyed ghosts
who get up in the cold and blink and turn
into those trembling emblems of night frosts,
she brings her burnt heart with her in an urn
of ashes, which she opens to re-mourn,
having no other outlet to express
her wild-flower sense of wounded gentleness.
Yes, she’s no more now than a drop of snow
on a green stem – her name is now her calling. Her mind is
just a frozen melting of glow
of water swollen to the point of falling
which maybe has no meaning. There’s no telling.
But what’s a beauty, what a mighty power
of patience kept intact is now in flower.