“Fluttering and dancing in the breeze”

It is once again that wonderful time of year when daffodils abound. The photo above is Ullswater Lake in the Lake District in northern England. It was while walking home to Grasmere along with his sister Dorothy that William Wordsworth enjoyed a host of golden daffodils. In fact it is Dorothy who writes in her journal of that day that that daffodils were “fluttering and dancing in the breeze”. William often used lines written first by his sister! The poem was written in 1802 and at that time Wordsworth, along with his sister, lived in “Dove Cottage” in Grasmere. Later that same year he married Mary, a school friend, and they continued to live in Dove Cottage along with Dorothy and eventually three children, before they all moved to a larger home in nearby Rydal. I encourage you to ponder the beautiful site of daffodils whether they be in your own garden, a neighbor’s, or growing wild in the woods or by the lakes. I have used some lines from Folliot Pierpoint’s hymn For the beauty of the earth – written in 1864 while the author gazed out upon nature on a hilltop near his native city of Bath as he looked upon the Avon River.

The Daffodils
I wandered 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.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought.

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. William Wordsworth 1770-1850

Eternal and Creator God,
for the beauty of the earth,
for the glory of the skies,
for the love which from our birth
over and around us lies,
Christ, our Lord, to you we raise
this, our hymn of grateful praise.

This day, hear my prayer of praise
for the beauty that my eyes can behold.
For the sift of eyesight and the joy
of beholding so many colors, so many views.
For the robin on the bench, for the cardinal upon the fence
for the blaze of red they share, I rejoice.
For the daffodils which flutter and dance
even as they stand alone, I stand alongside them
cheering them on!
Today my prayer is for family and friends, as I cheer them along
in their lives, in theirs joys and in their challenges.
Remind us all, O loving Lord,
of the beauty all around us, how fortunate
we are.
For the joy of human love
brother, sister, parent, child,
friends on earth, and friends above
for all gentle thoughts and mild…


One thought on ““Fluttering and dancing in the breeze”

  1. Isn’t a host of daffodils the perfect phrase. They are indeed a host, waiting to welcome the visiting spring to come into full bloom, welcoming us to warmer, fresher days ahead, giving an opportunity to start fresh and to test our Lenten reflections and “promises” to ourselves. Last week there was snow on my daffodils, but they held their heads high defying the cold! I do love that about them. I like the way you have embedded the hymn into the prayer, one that I associate with Thanksgiving but seeing it now reminds me that it really is a 4 season song. Hymns of all sorts hold fond memories for me and there is one in particular that became an amusing family anecdote, One of my young, distractible cousins was known for her squirming and inattention in church. On one occasion when it was time to open the hymnal, she was doodling on the bulletin when my aunt nudged her and said, “Is My Name Written There?”, meaning to draw her attention and tell her what the hymn was going to be. Looking at her mother with a quizzical expression, her mother repeated it. And in frustration repeated it again. “No! No it’s not!” shouted my cousin as she turned the bulletin from side to side looking for her mother’s name. After that, when any of us were distracted, we would be asked, “is my name written there?” Happy Spring!


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