“Walk through the buttercups”

Each Friday I post one of my poems.

Walk through the buttercups with me, fair maid;
Come, dance with me across the verdant floor.
Even in dreams the seasons are turning;
The breezes grow cooler: lend me your hand.
Take my arm, and let us find some shelter
Where I can lay my love before your face
In words I, waking, dare not speak aloud.

I wrote this late last year or early this year, but didn’t post it then because the seasonal references would have been all wrong. I suspect the poem’s plot, such as it is, may have come from what I remembered of a dream, but I will freely (if perhaps falsely) admit to taking some vague sort of inspiration for the initial image from A. A. Milne’s poem “Buttercup Days” and the Alan Shepard illustration that accompanied it in our copy of Now We Are Six.

I always welcome your comments, critique, suggestions (perhaps a real title for this?, or any other feedback on this poem or any other part of my work. (In other words, if you like it, if you don’t like it, if something “works”, if something “doesn’t work”, if it makes you think of something or someone, etc., please say so!) If you like this, you can also read other poems I’ve written here on my blog (or if that list is too intimidating, I began breaking it down into more manageable groups yesterday, so you can just start with those); I’d particularly like to know which poems you think are my best.

This poem is also posted on my wiiki.


5 thoughts on ““Walk through the buttercups”

  1. This poem has such potential that I’m tempted to tinker, and find myself doing that in my mind. It is a new poem, so I suspect you’ll be coming back to it. I like it very much!
    Wish I could help you with a title.

    • Note the date on this … at over a year old now, it’s hardly “new” anymore. And, as usual with my poetry revisions, anytime I start going through it (by myself) the words fall into the same old patterns, so any suggestions are welcome.

  2. Okay, Jonathan – here goes! I suspect, with good reason, that you won’t like this; however, you’ve asked for suggestions, so here is a different version as a suggestion:

    Walk through the buttercups with me, fair maiden;
    come dance with me across the verdant floor!
    Even in dreams, the seasons turn,
    and the breezes grow colder,
    so lend me your hand!
    Take my arm and let us find shelter,
    some hiding place where I can lay my love at your feet,
    in words I’d never dare speak while awake.

    I much prefer ‘fair maiden,’ despite any rules it may break.
    I like ‘at your feet’ better, however ‘before your face’ is very lovely, and unique, and has the echo of Coram Deo, Beatrice, too.

    By the way, I appreciate the phrase ‘verdant floor’, and the fact that it’s love shown amidst the changing of seasons – both very nice! I realize buttercups inspired you, and I do like them very much (because of childhood fun with them), but somehow they feel awkward – can’t say why. Perhaps because of the song, “Poor little buttercup!”

    You probably won’t like this version per se, but a reframing by another poet may be helpful to you in some unforseen way. I hope so!


    • “Buttercups” echo Milne for me far more than Gilbert.

      “maiden” could work if I dropped the “Come” from the beginning of the next line, which I’d rather not do. (Blank verse, at least as I write it, permits an extra unstressed syllable at the end of a line if the unstressed syllable with which the next line would ordinarily begin is omitted—though the following lines drop into dactyl/trochee pairs, and then the meter becomes even less regular. Sigh.)

      “before your face” carries the implication of “so that you can read and understand it,” while “at your feet” is an echo of Yeats (and of Palm Sunday), or an image of standing in judgment over … an image I have used in my poetry before, but that’s not what I want here.

      You’re right that I don’t like your reframing nearly as well (one of the primary faults of my original is that it’s not metrical enough, in my opinion, while you ignored the meter entirely), but just about anything that makes me ponder possible improvements to my old poetry is a good thing.

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