Friday, January 15

For Chris

Yesterday we had to attend the funeral of a very dear friend, Christine who died last week as a result of a traffic accident whilst out on her motorbike. It was a freak accident really and could have happened to anybody, but sadly for us and all of Christine's family her number was up!

The service was to be held at our local church, All Saints in Easington. We knew there would be a lot of people attending the service as Chris was so popular. The church was absolutely full with a huge crowd of people standing as there wasn't any seats left. The service was to begin at 1.15pm and by 1pm the place was packed with many standing outside.

During the service we learned lots of facts about Christine, facts which we wouldn't have known. After the many years I have known Chris I did not know she not only loved poetry but wrote some herself. Her favourite poem was Wordsworth's Daffodils which we are all familiar with.

The poem 'Daffodils' is also known by the title 'I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud', a lyrical poem written by William Wordsworth in 1804. It was published in 1815 in 'Collected Poems' with four stanzas. William Wordsworth is a well-known romantic poet who believed in conveying simple and creative expressions through his poems. He had quoted, "Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility". Thus, Daffodils is one of the most popular poems of the Romantic Age, unfolding the poet's excitement, love and praise for a field blossoming with daffodils.

William Wordsworth wrote Daffodils on a stormy day in spring, while walking along with his sister Dorothy near Ullswater Lake, in England. He imagined that the daffodils were dancing and invoking him to join and enjoy the breezy nature of the fields. Dorothy Wordsworth, the younger sister of William Wordsworth, found the poem so interesting that she took 'Daffodils' as the subject for her journal.

"Daffodils" (1804)
I WANDER'D 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 stretch'd 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.

By William Wordsworth (1770-1850).

It is such a shame that often we only discover things about people when it is too late to talk. I asked Jon if he had a favourite poem and he said whilst he wasn't a great lover of poetry he did like "If" by Rudyard Kipling. He went on to say that he didn't think it was appropriate for a funeral but I think it would be OK.

My favourite poem is by EE Cummings. I particularly like it for the words in the final line sum up the great feeling of walking on the beach and being so near to the sea. When I was teaching in Nottingham, in the East Midlands I often read this to my pupils and described the coastline I was brought up with which is now an important part of our walks and indeed we can see the North Sea from our house, so it is fitting!

maggie and milly and molly and may
by E. E. Cummings

maggie and milly and molly and may
went down to the beach (to play one day)

and maggie discovered a shell that sang
so sweetly she couldn't remember her troubles,and

milly befriended a stranded star
whose rays five languid fingers were;

and molly was chased by a horrible thing
which raced sideways while blowing bubbles:and

may came home with a smooth round stone
as small as a world and as large as alone.

For whatever we lose (like a you or a me)
it's always ourselves we find in the sea

Do you have a favourite poem?


  1. so sorry for your loss Denise.
    I have a favorite poem but I don't have the authors name or the title of it, just a clipping I read over every now and then.

  2. Like Jon, I am not heavily into poetry, but since you ask, here are a few lines that probably everybody knows, and which might fit the subject of your post ...

    The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
    Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
    Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
    Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.

    Omar Khyyam

  3. Beautiful tribute to Chris, Denise. I pray you will find comfort in the days ahead and plant some daffodils.

  4. Sorry about your friend, Denise. It is so often true that we only learn the details of somebody's life when it is too late.
    Do I have a favourite poem - I have hundreds - I love anything by RS Thomas, and my all time favourite is probably from A Shropshire Lad - "Lovliest of trees, the cherry now -"

  5. What a lovely tribute to Chris xx

  6. A lovely way to remember your dear friend, I know you will remember her for the rest of your life.

  7. I am often amazed at funerals about what I find out about people that I thought i was close to. When my brother in law died last year, we found out that once a month he helped give out meals to the needy .. I think there is a lesson in it for me, to take time to really get to know and listen to those that I care for.
    I love Daffodils! that is most probably one of my favourite poems..

  8. A lovely tribute to your friend.

  9. A touching tribute to your friend.

    «Louis» is familiar with many of cummings' poems, but had missed this one, which is a fitting selection for your tribute to Chris.

  10. It's a strange fact, that for all the literature I have studied for 'way too many years, I've never given any thought to which is my favorite. I know the one that turned me on to poetry -- that was "The Highwayman" by Alfred Noyes. I do have many other favorites, but I really like that e.e.cummings one you posted today.

  11. I am sorry about your loss. This is a loving tribute.

  12. That is truly beautiful! Thinking of you!!
    Love Jane xxx

  13. She certainly appears to have lived her life well, what a tribute to have so many who called her a friend. I have several favourite poems, but anything by Roger McGough or Stevie Smith usually hits the spot for me.

  14. She had many friends Denise, including you, and she will never be forgotten.

    I love the poetry of Edward Thomas and Adlestrop is amongst my favourites, but I think Thoms Hardy's 'Overlooking the River' has to be my favourite:

    The swallows flew in the curves of an eight
    Above the river-gleam
    In the wet June's last beam:
    Like little crossbows animate
    The swallows flew in the curve of an eight
    Above the river-gleam.

    That first verse never fails to call to mind the River Stour at Sturminster Newton in Dorset, which was the view from his window as he wrote that poem.


Thank you for your comments, always nice to know somebody has taken the time to let me know what they think.