Monday, 3 February 2014

Day 562: Snowdrops

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.

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