Saturday 20 June 2009

A Good Year for the Daisies

Thanks to this year's unusually summer-like summer weather, the daisies have been thriving. I'd noticed how splendid the ox-eyes have been in the countryside, but unfortunately I have no daisies in my lawn. If I did, I certainly wouldn't regard them as weeds - nothing improves a stretch of grass like a spangling of daisies. Robert Herrick's poem To Daisies, in its simple beauty and small scale, perfectly matches its subject.


  1. To A Mountain Daisy

    Wee, modest crimson-tipped flow'r,
    Thou's met me in an evil hour;
    For I maun crush amang the stoure
    Thy slender stem:
    To spare thee now is past my pow'r,
    Thou bonnie gem.

    Alas! it's no thy neibor sweet,
    The bonnie lark, companion meet,
    Bending thee 'mang the dewy weet,
    Wi' spreckl'd breast!
    When upward-springing, blythe, to greet
    The purpling east.

    Cauld blew the bitter-biting north
    Upon thy early, humble birth;
    Yet cheerfully thou glinted forth
    Amid the storm,
    Scarce rear'd above the parent-earth
    Thy tender form.

    The flaunting flow'rs our gardens yield,
    High shelt'ring woods and wa's maun shield;
    But thou, beneath the random bield
    O' clod or stane,
    Adorns the histie stibble field,
    Unseen, alane.

    There, in thy scanty mantle clad,
    Thy snawie bosom sun-ward spread,
    Thou lifts thy unassuming head
    In humble guise;
    But now the share uptears thy bed,
    And low thou lies!

    Such is the fate of artless maid,
    Sweet flow'ret of the rural shade!
    By love's simplicity betray'd,
    And guileless trust;
    Till she, like thee, all soil'd, is laid
    Low i' the dust.

    Such is the fate of simple bard,
    On life's rough ocean luckless starr'd!
    Unskilful he to note the card
    Of prudent lore,
    Till billows rage, and gales blow hard,
    And whelm him o'er!

    Such fate to suffering worth is giv'n,
    Who long with wants and woes has striv'n,
    By human pride or cunning driv'n
    To mis'ry's brink;
    Till wrench'd of ev'ry stay but Heav'n,
    He, ruin'd, sink!

    Ev'n thou who mourn'st the Daisy's fate,
    That fate is thine-no distant date;
    Stern Ruin's plough-share drives elate,
    Full on thy bloom,
    Till crush'd beneath the furrow's weight,
    Shall be thy doom!

  2. Ah yes a fine piece o' Burns there. Thanks Dearieme.

  3. I've been enjoying Jon Silkin. But where do you stand on the controversial and also abundant dandelion (another Silkin subject), a good thing or no?

  4. I'm with Silkin on the dandelion Gaw - one of the few flowering plants I can decapitate with scarcely a qualm. Among 'weeds', I prefer the much less insistent hawkweeds... Thanks for reminding me of Silkin, a good poet I'd all but forgotten. Must read more...

  5. Ooh, love that Burns. All the more so as I'll be in Scotland in August. I can't wait! Recommendations anyone? We are in Edinburgh for three days to do Fringe things, but otherwise have a week to plot. I'm thinking Aberdeen for a couple of days, but p'raps you all have a better idea? What's an easy jog from either Glasgow (where our flight comes/goes) or E-burgh?

    Thank you folks for any and all suggestions. And thank you again Malty for the walking tour ideas -- we will do them!

  6. Susan

    Aberdeen? Not unless you're feeling in a very dark mood. The Granite City is the Gordon Brown of Burghs.

    Head North West out of Glasgow on the Road to the Isles. As the cliché has it - head West.

  7. hi nige - I've had to make a post in reply to your dandelion comments! its on my blog at

  8. Thank you, Recusant. Will do!

  9. This can't have effect in actual fact, that is exactly what I consider.