Saturday, 24 May 2014

Common flowers reflecting joy

The other day my brother and I were trying to describe someone that we are both very fond of. Witty,kind, affectionate and funny immediately sprung to mind. Then I blurted out that what I really like was that he is so normal. Then I thought what do we mean by normal? Well I think it means that being in their company makes you feel serene and relaxed, if you have a laugh so much the better. You know you are not being judged and they are not waiting for you to put a foot wrong. So often when people dismiss behaviour as being just a part of human nature, they are talking about negative things. It's human nature to be jealous, dislike someone, betray or steal. It is also human nature to be kind, caring and loving and feel compassion.

This made me think of dandelions. All through my English childhood they kept me company. I used their leaves to feed my rabbit. Their bright sunny faces brightened up the meadows where I played. I never picked them though because my mum had a thing about them staining my hands. My friends and I had competitions to see how many times we could blow away their fluffy heads and tell the time with them, then imagine them as parachutes falling gently to the ground.
Dandelions grow everywhere, like daisies and buttercups. I always thought they were called dandelions because dandy means smart and attractive and they look like a lion with a mane. Someone told me that dandelion comes from the French Dente de lion, which means lion's teeth. When I came to Italy dandelions were all the over the place here too. I asked what they are called. Most people looked blank. The best they could come up with was El piscia can, which means dog's wee. Huh I thought they were the romantic ones.

There is a song by the Rolling Stones called Dandelion which is the b side to We love you. Apparently Keith Richards named his daughter born in 1972 Dandelion. Her mother later changed it to Angela.

This poem  by the American poet. James Russell Lowell,(1819 - 1891) tells us to look for the beauty in common flowers, normal things. I bet you didn't think I knew a poem about a dandelion, and it is really lovely, you will never look at a dandelion in the same way again.

Dear common flower, that grow'st beside the way,
fringing the dusty road with harmless gold,
First pledge of blithesome May,
Which children pluck, and full of pride, uphold.
How like a prodigal doth nature seem,
When thou, for all thy gold so common art!
Thou teachest me to deem
More sacredly of every human heart,
Since each reflects in joy its scanty gleam
Of heaven.
Dandelion clock, irresistible to the child in you

A splash of gold in the grass

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