Faire daffadills, we weep to see
You haste away so soone.
The road I walked home from school
was dense with trees and shadow, creek-side,
and lit by yellow daffodils, early blossoms
bright against winter’s last gray days.
I must have known they grew wild, thought
No harm in taking them. So I did—
gathering up as many as I could hold,
then presenting them, in a jar, to my mother.
She put them on the sill, and I sat nearby
watching light bend through the glass,
day easing into evening, proud of myself
for giving my mother some small thing.
Childish vanity. I must have seen in them
some measure of myself –the slender stems,
each blossom a head lifted up
toward praise, or bowed to meet its reflection.
Walking home those years ago, I knew nothing
of Narcissus of the daffodils’ short spring-
how they’d dry like graveside flowers, rustling
when the wind blew—a whisper, treacherous,
from the sill. Be taken with yourself,
they said to me; Die early, to my mother.
I really love the sentence “Childish vanity” where the narrator is comparing herself to the daffodils. The beauty a child feels about the world around them is envious of most adults and this is shown throughout this. The point when they seem to grow up is when their mother dies and the daffodils also die. To me, this represents that the daffodils didn’t actually symbolise the narrator; rather the mother. This whisper of the daffodils in the conclusion feels haunting; “Die early.” The connotations of the child being responsible for their mother’s death is what I immediately think of. Although, it could also suggest that for the woman, it was fate that she was going to die early. The mother seems to have gone through pain which her innocent child knew nothing about until she died and this fact alone makes the poem very moving.
The daffodils in the beginning of the poem represent a bright comfort from the narrator’s dark surroundings. They represent the wild youth of the narrator’s childhood that helped form her identity held within the jar, or her inner self.
Her youth and impulsivity of life’s enjoyments is cut short with the death of her mother as indicated in the line “the daffodils’ short spring.” As they dry up beside the grave of her mother, her childhood naiveté dies as she learns to live without her mother from a young age. “Be taken with yourself” is a message from the dying flowers that she was too selfish during the last moments of her mother’s life and needed to life her head up from her own reflection. In order to sustain her relationships and her own identity in relation to others, she needs to be focus on the happiness she brings others rather than the happiness she brings herself.