4 February: Springtime in London

views of London a century apart

On Receiving a Bowl of Spring  Flowers in London by Mary Webb

So the old, dear freemasonry goes on-- 
The busy life, the laughter-under-sod, 
The leafy hosts with spear and gonfalon 
Guarding the earthy mysteries of God. 
I did not think the violets came so soon, 
Yet here are five, and all my room is sweet; 
And here's an aconite--a golden moon 
Shining where all her raying leaflets meet; 
And here a snowdrop, finely veined--ah, see! 
Fresh from the artist's hand, and folded close: 
She only waits the sunshine and the bee; 
Then she will open like a golden rose.

Mary Webb was miserable when living and working in London, away from Shropshire, so when she received a bowl of spring flowers she hardly knew whether to laugh or cry over them. A friend must have knelt down to gather the flowers, all of them low growing, early on the morning before she received them. Seeing, touching, sorting the little flowers puts her back in touch with the busy life of  the earthy mysteries of creation which are revealed, as well as guarded, by the flowers. A touch of that longed-for sunshine. The gonfalon - a battle banner - tells the world who is the King of this leafy army: God himself. Laudato Si!

When did a gift bring you to laughter, or tears of joy, or make you open like a golden rose?


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