A daffodil lay dying in the dust;
Some heedless hand had dropped or cast it down.
I found it, fair and fragrant, on the pavement lying,
A tender floweret in the cold dust dying.
Not on the wind-swept plain it grew,
Nor on the purple mountain;
Not in green vales by purling streams of peace;
Nor where, unconscious of its grace,
The wildflower blooms and nods,
Subtly contributing the forces of its soul
To fine evolvement of the cosmic dream;
But in its crystal home, my castaway
Drew sustenance and stature from the chemic soil.
With whispering beams, the lordly sun
Coaxed it to fair expression;
The mists and dews, the warm, enfolding air,
All made their mute, significant appeal.
The throbbing, rhythmic life transformed it
And transfigured, till matter, mould and hue,
With fragrant odours mixed in one compacted whole,
Burst into rare, gold-petaled harmony,
And lo,—the daffodil!
This green, cylindric stem, this shrivelled spathe,
These dewy petals, golden-lipt,
With delicate breathing, tell
How for a thousand, thousand years,
The universe, with tireless zeal,
Toiled to evolve and fashion
The frail, sweet image of a daffodil;
Tell how the forest fragrances,
Refreshing breezes from the far-off hills
And starry dews that cooled the lips of night, Made infinite appeal of self-abandonment
To all the forbears of this flower,
Won them to dreams of opulence
And turned their hearts to beauty.
All this the flower told me
While I, upon the highway faring,
Held my treasure in my hand;
But since the stem severed its hold on life,
Shall I proclaim it dead,
And, moaning ‘dust to dust,’
Commit to earth again?
There is no death, but ceaseless resurrection
To entrancing scores of unimagined harmonies.
Within my heart the daffodil still dwells.
I send it forth to every child-wise soul,
To every seer who dreams fair dreams with me.