Freedom for the Daffodils!

Einstein has remembered us
Savior of the daffodils!
—William Carlos Williams
St. Francis Einstein of the Daffodils (first version)

Innisfree opened early, and the daffodils are out!

In March’s black boat
Einstein and April
have come at the time in fashion
up out of the sea
through the rippling daffodils
in the foreyard of
the dead Statue of Liberty
whose stonearms
are powerless against them
the Venusremembering wavelets
breaking into laughter —

Sweet Land of Liberty,
at last, in the end of time,
Einstein has come by force of
complicated mathematics
among the tormented fruit trees
to buy freedom
for the daffodils
till the unchained orchards
shake their tufted flowers —
Yiddishe springtime!

At the time in fashion
Einstein has come
bringing April in his head
up from the sea
in Thomas March Jefferson’s
black boat bringing
freedom under the dead
Statue of Liberty
to free the daffodils in
the water which sing:
Einstein has remembered us
Savior of the daffodils!

Excerpt from William Carlos Williams, St. Francis Einstein of the Daffodils (first version)

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Listening List

Francis Poulenc, Sinfonietta FP 141 (1947-1948)

Movements:

I. Allegro con fuoco
II. Molto vivace
III. Andante cantabile
IV. Très vite et très gai

Orchestration: 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinet (B), 2 bassoons 2 horns (F), 2 trumpets (C), timpani, harp, strings

A commission from the BBC in 1947, the four-movement work occupies a strange
place in the composer’s oeuvre in its Neo-Classical leanings, and its undeniable whimsy that would contrast sharply some of the works that were to follow in the 1950s. . . . 1948 saw the premiere of the work in London, as well as Poulenc’s first concert tour of the United States, boosting his international reputation. The title’s diminutive reference reveals much about Poulenc’s motivation for the work, which, like many his other pieces, seems to revel in the study of musical character and orchestration, rather than aiming toward symphonic formal cohesion. Poulenc unapologetically weaves in modal passages between waves of lush, romantic harmonies, and carries the listener from an aggressive descending phrase in the opening Allegro to a finale apropos of Haydn in its folksiness. Tucked in to the inner movements are the broad, haunting theme in the Andante cantabile as well as the brief misterioso moments in his scherzo.

The complete program notes from which the above excerpt is taken are here.

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Credits: The sources for quotations may be found at the links in the text. As always on the blog unless indicated otherwise, the photographs (in this case, of Innisfree taken on three days, 4/15, 16, and 23) are mine.

6 thoughts on “Freedom for the Daffodils!

  1. hilarymb

    Hi Susan – love the early Spring at Innisfree – gorgeous … cheers Hilary

  2. shoreacres

    How I laughed when I found the frog! I finally managed a photo of a frog this spring — my first. He was mostly submerged, but he was big, and definitely a frog: so that was pleasing.

    Innisfree is splendid in every season. How happy you must be to have it open again. I especially liked the mass of flowers along the rock wall. I’ve seen large fields of flowers this year, but haven’t yet learned to photograph them as well as you have here. For one thing, many of the densest stands had mixes of flowers, all tangled together. The photos show the colors well, but not the details.

    The poem brought to mind the photo I used once of Einstein on his front porch, wearing fuzzy slippers, and his wonderful words: “Creativity is intelligence having fun.” I’d forgotten that quotation, but it’s a good one. Someone who thinks that way surely could save some daffodils.

    1. Susan Scheid Post author

      shoreacres: I’m still surprised, myself, when I run across that frog, surveying its domain.

      I sure know what you mean about trying to photograph large fields of flowers: what my mind’s eye sees most often doesn’t even remotely appear in my photographs. It’s as if you need close focus and big panorama capabilities rolled all into one. Wonder if they make a lens that does that?

      I love the Einstein quotation, and you are so right about someone who thinks that way. His mind, it seems, was always open, ready for to take in next unknown.

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