I spent a great deal of time with Grandma W. on her Ozark Mountain farm when I was an adolescent. One of my most cherished possessions is something she gave me during my stay. I was forever raiding her book shelf. She never withheld any of her books from me, but some were kept on less accessible shelves than others. One day she pulled an old volume of poetry by Alfred Lord Tennyson from a high shelf and told me it was mine. The aged, yellow pages of that book have brought me nearly forty years of joy and quiet contemplation.
Wild flowers are starting to awaken from their winter naps, painting the land around me in vibrant colors. The sight makes me think of this poem by Alfred Lord Tennyson, the poet whose work I have my grandma to thank for my introduction.
Grandma knew I had a poet’s soul long before I did. She saw me as a flower when everyone still saw me as a weed.
The Flower by Alfred Lord Tennyson
Once in a golden hour I cast to earth a seed. Up there came a flower, The people said, a weed.
To and fro they went Thro’ my garden bower, And muttering discontent Cursed me and my flower.
Then it grew so tall It wore a crown of light, But thieves from o’er the wall Stole the seed by night.
Sow’d it far and wide By every town and tower, Till all the people cried, “Splendid is the flower!”
Read my little fable: He that runs may read. Most can raise the flowers now, For all have got the seed.
And some are pretty enough, And some are poor indeed; And now again the people Call it but a weed.
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