Therefore all seasons shall be sweet to thee,
Whether summer clothe the general earth
With greeness, or the redbreast sit and sing
Betwixt the tufts of snow on the bare branch
Of mossy apple-tree, while the nigh thatch
Smokes in the sun-thaw; whether the eave-drops fall
Heard only in the trances of the blast,
Or if the secret ministry of frost
Shall hang them up in silent icicles,
Quietly shining to the quiet Moon.



Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Imbolc


Today is Imbolc the ancient Celtic festival marking the transition from Winter to Spring. The Celts measured their days from sunset to sunset so Imbolc is already with us if we use their way of measuring time.
The beautiful image above is another example of the work of Angela Jayne Barnett.The poem is one I used last year in a post about snowdrops,it's a lovely poem so to save you straining your eyes trying to read the words on the image here it is:)

One month is past, another is begun,
Since merry bells rung out the dying year,
And buds of rarest green began to peer,
As if impatient for a warmer sun;
And though the distant hills are bleak and dun,
The virgin snowdrop like a lambent fire,
Pierces the cold earth with its green-streaked spire
And in dark woods, the wandering little one
May find a primrose.

Hartley Coleridge



The Snowdrop

Yes, punctual to the time, thou 'rt here again,
As still thou art:—though frost or rain may vary,
And icicles blockade the rockbirds' aery,
Or sluggish snow lie heavy on the plain,
Yet thou, sweet child of hoary January,
Art here to harbinger the haggard train
Of vernal flowers, a duteous missionary.
Nor cold can blight, nor fog thy pureness stain.
Beneath the dripping eaves, or on the slope
Of cottage garden, whether mark'd or no,
Thy meek head bends in undistinguish'd row.
Blessings upon thee, gentle bud of hope !
And Nature bless the spot where thou dost grow—
Young life emerging from thy kindred snow!

Hartley Coleridge(1796-1849)

It's true as Coleridge says that there are snowdrops to be found in January but really they are the iconic flower of February. They are the harbingers of Spring and their gentle presence assures us that soon the warmth of the sun will soon strengthen and new life will be blossoming forth wherever we look. The weather in February can be cold, wet and frequently snowy too but it's a short month and soon the full beauty of Spring will be with us.

21 comments:

Kathy said...

I've never heard of Imbolc .... I love your posts. You are so in touch with the seasons. You miss those little details rushing to work in a city.
xxx

Melissa Bowman said...

Blessed Be, very lovely!

Lucy said...

Hadn't come across Hartley Coleridge before but I like the first poem here a lot.

Lucy

Kiki aka Victoria said...

Such a beautiful tribute!! Gorgeous, poetic and magical..thankyou!
Hugs

Monique Elisabeth said...

Very beautiful Rowan !!!
Have a great Imbolc.

Dartford Warbler said...

A lovely post to welcome February and the "nearly Spring".

Today began so wintery, with ice and grey rain, but it ended here with a beautiful sunset and I found green shoots of grass beneath some leaves. It really felt like a turning point.

Granny Sue said...

Lovely, Rowan, just lovely. Thank you.

Thimbleanna said...

Ahhh, spring IS on it's way, isn't it? Beautiful post Rowan -- and a needed reminder as we sit inside with a blizzard warning outside!

Tea with Willow said...

Just lovely - thanks for sharing these poems with us! There definitely seems to be a change in the air these last few days, and I've seen a couple of snowdrop leaves peeping above ground!

Willow x

MorningAJ said...

Felt thoroughly grotty yesterday so I missed Imbolc. I hope the Fae won't mind if I wait till the new moon to celebrate! (It's only till Thursday.....)

Rowan said...

Don't worry MorningAJ you haven't missed Imbolc, it runs from sunset on Feb 1st to sunset on Feb 2nd. Hope you are feeling better.

Diane said...

I shall go and inspect my snowdrops before I go to work! XXX

Rosie said...

Lovely poems. It was quite warm and spring like yesterday as we walked along the canal towpath listening to the woodpeckers in the trees. I could feel the change - haven't seen any snowdrops yet but I'm sure it won't be long. Lovely post, Rowan:)

Bovey Belle said...

As I stepped out of the car at Newton House yesterday, the first thing I saw were Snowdrops - the first ones I'd seen flowering this year. Timely indeed.

Diane said...

Hi Rowan, The Paraise Square on my blog is in Wentworth. xxxx

Gracie said...

Like the celtic culture, (I try to read everything about it) and I like the poems you posted, thanks.

Mac n' Janet said...

I hope it does mean spring is coming, I see bulbs coming up but cold weather is again predicted for us.
No snowdrops yet, but I'm hopeful

Mimi Foxmorton said...

A Blessed Imbolc to you and yours.
SPring is coming!

~Mimi

Comfrey Cottages said...

Imbolcic blessings to you and your family, Rowan. Just lovely poems and picture xx

WOL said...

Spring can't get here soon enough for me. My kitchen pipes have frozen -- hopefully they have not burst. It has been below freezing for days and days, with more snow in the forecast. So this month's moon is the "Rowan Moon" very appropos. Love the new header picture.

Mister D said...

Loveley words and images Rowan, like a breath of fresh air in today's busy, noisy world.