Week 15 – Entries and results

Saturday, 15 March 2014

We had an amazing response to the photograph above taken by Rachel McPhee-Benson and lots of votes for the ten shortlisted poems below – proving in the words of one of the poets that there is still something to say about daffodils.

The winning poem was number 3, The Daffodils were in Attendance, by Stephanie Arsoska. In second place was Yesterday’s Daffodils by Wilda Morris. Thankyou to everyone who submitted poems, to everyone who took time to read and vote and to Rachel for the lovely photograph.


Poem 1

Yesterday’s Daffodils


The daffodils

that yesterday

lifted faces to be kissed

by blue sky,

today stand in icy wind

like scolded children,

like spurned lovers.

Green-coated backs bent,

heads down,

they refuse

to lift their eyes.

Like you.


Wilda Morris


Poem 2

There is still something to say about daffodils


No words left for us

to tell the glow and depth

of the golden daffy-down-dilly,

the asphodel, the Lenten lily?

The Cumbrian giant seized them all,

hewn from the plain rock of his landscape?


Not so.  He did not tell

the folklore of poison and ill-luck;

or the flowers’ luminosity at night,

ghost lanterns in the twilight.

His poem recollected only the way

they filled his mind’s eye with their dancing.


Diane Jackman



Poem 3

The Daffodils were in Attendance. 


The day you gave my hand away in love

the daffodils were gathered like spring rain.

Ballerinas poised in yellow dance

like Easter kisses painting the damp earth.


Years later trumpeted in feathered gold,

we scattered you in clouds of ashen grey.

They skirted sorrow,  yellow, butter soft,

and stood with us, their gentle heads held low.


Stephanie Arsoska


Poem 4

Spring Is Not Fussy


Spring is not fussy

Its soil may be gas and dust

But if there is sun enough

Some water source

The merge of life occurs

A cosmic dance of blooming

Old red stars fade away

Their tightly wound arms decay

100 billion stars or more

Galaxies in clustering death

Form streams of dynamic light

Infusing each individual bulb

Into a season of arrogant beauty

Coalescing, compressing, and

Like stars collapsing, burning

Drop into the flood of chance

And wait again.


Paul Strohm


Poem 5

Revisiting Wordsworth                                                                              


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.
                               William Wordsworth, “Daffodils” (1804)


A host? Well, yes – an army

of daffodils in phalanx: bladed leaf,

bud-tips like spears and halberds,

faces trumpeting sudden arrivals

and their own victory medallion

in the routing of Spring,

their grim sortie through dugouts,

earth-mound, snow, frost, wind

to achieve the yellowness

of celebration.


But dancing? No. Nowhere a dance:

just lances of sunlight

ransoming their flowering time

for our applause, our aahs,

our surrendered wows.


Roger Elkin


 Poem 6

You can’t hurry quality


You can’t hurry quality,

not the coming or the


The babe will come

when it’s ready,

the old will leave

in their own good time.


So for spring

and its messengers


the flood, frost

and frozen fields,

it pushes, it will come,

you can’t hurry quality.


Angie Butler


Poem 7

Daffydown Dilly


Daffydown Dilly,

what are you looking at?


We know not, but we sense

longer days, warm rays;

soft pussy-willow blankets

wrap earth-birthing.


Daffydown Dilly,

why are you dancing?


We know not, but the rhythm

is steal-breath, so fresh;

we breeze-tossed is while wind

goes catkin-kicking.


Daffydown Dilly,

what can you listening for?


We know not, but its call

is a sky-blue buzzard’s mew.

Wakening seeds sleep-talk,

new stories readying.


Daffydown Dilly,

what do you hear?


That we do know.

Go hedge-seek for your wife,

sweet Robin Trill-bright!

Life we hear, coming.


Stephanie Haxton


Poem 8



They speak with one golden voice

turning trumpet ears down to hear

the blackbirds’ rustling steps.


They’ve borrowed last year’s sun

and now return the debt with interest

crying out as we walk near


“Look at us! Look over here!

We are the earth’s true stars

and Spring belongs to us!”


Janice Windle


Poem 9

Spring Phoenix


How can it be that shoots appear in soil

laid bare by winter’s frost and cast aside?

These specks of green defy the wildest gale

and hold their own amid the strongest weed.


As shadows shorten, leaves begin to grow

and bursting buds develop in the spring.

A storm of hail and thunder starts to brew:

the steadfast blackbird launches into song.


And then at last, once ice has turned to rain,

a sudden glint of sunlight strikes the earth;

for, robed in golden fire and satin sheen,

a phoenix rises from its barren hearth.


It shoots a gilt-edged flame towards the sky:

a coronet of petals crowns the day.


Caroline Gill


Poem 10

Beloved Parents


Widowed young in nineteen sixty

with only a penny policy

you placed a small

gravestone on father’s

resting place. Sunday

after Sunday, in daffodil

season, we carried yellow

sunshine to gladden his life.

You told me he was handsome

how he took you dancing –

off-duty time, second world war.

Twenty seven years later

you lie together.

I have replaced the old gravestone

with one that names you both

and planted a family of flowers

to reincarnate your love.


Eileen Carney-Hulme