Days like this one only happen twice a year – today is the Vernal Equinox, that moment in the calendar when the night and the day are of equal length. From this day forward all the way to the Summer Solstice the evenings will be getting lighter, the days getting longer – Spring has arrived. This is the time when the daffodils make their welcome appearance, the bright yellow of their heads adding a splash of colour helping to banish the greys of the Winter. How do those little clumps of flowers appear on the grass verges in the middle of nowhere? has some benevolent soul been out and about planting bulbs knowing the resulting joy these flowers bring? I hope so, what a wonderful thought.
What better than William Wordsworth’s ‘I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud’ (also commonly known as ‘Daffodils’) to celebrate the arrival of Spring.
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 be but 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.
From the romanticism of Wordsworth to getting it off our chests with Matthew Parris, our Newsletter this week is an emotional hotch-potch of reading – there is the affection Michael Rosen has for a National Health Service which saved his life; the passion Val McDermid has for her native Scotland; the joy Stacey Solomon has for being organised; the fortitude of Louise Redknapp to find a way through; Luke Adam Hawker’s love of being with someone close; the focus of Vince Cable to explain influence. Things get a little steamy in Fiona Mozley’s ‘Hot Stew’; the thrills come from Donna Leon and a pair of Peters; and Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy, with a memoir popular from a few years ago, is back again.