Commentary
5:00 am
Fri March 18, 2011

Richard Crowson: Ode To A Daffodil

Are you as happy as I am to see those daffodils popping up? Man, it seems like it’s been a long winter. And I’m not just talking about the weather. The news itself has brought us dark cloud after dark cloud as of late. I’ve found myself transfixed to an unhealthy degree by images of Northern Japan’s tsunami misery.

I thought we had it bad what with the looming deep budget cuts here in Kansas that are sending divisive cracks along our landscape. Those cracks spider outward from Topeka and we get our schools divided from arts divided from the disabled divided from teachers’ pensions divided from, well, you get the idea. If “to every thing there is a season” we are apparently in the season of civil division.

All of this is against a backdrop of our national political divisions. Storm after blustery storm of partisanship has whipped itself into a windy fury of uncivil public discourse, often ending in torrents of childish name-calling and deeply wounding mutual distrust.

And then upon this bleak and barren landscape, right in the middle of this seemingly unending recession’s chill, daffodils have the audacity to raise their little yellow trumpets toward the roiling gray clouds.

It’s enough to make one get up off the couch of self pity and open a book of poetry. Maybe to a poem by William Wordsworth. Maybe to these lines in which Wordsworth recalls having seen a stand of those impertinent floral fellows in his “Ode to a Daffodil:”

“For oft, when on my couch I lie in vacant or in pensive mood,

They flash upon that inward eye which is the bliss of solitude;

And then my heart with pleasure fills,

And dances with the daffodils.”