Spring comes earlier in the UK than it does here and the growing season is longer and cooler. Plath’s poem is set in March. The narcissus are already out in full bloom. But there’s a March wind blowing and a struggle to breathe. Plath’s octogenarian Percy is among the narcissi but never a narcissist. The photographs are of Innisfree Gardens in Millbrook, N.Y. and were taken yesterday.
Among the Narcissi
Spry, wry, and gray as these March sticks,
Percy bows, in his blue peajacket, among the narcissi.
He is recuperating from something on the lung.
The narcissi, too, are bowing to some big thing :
It rattles their stars on the green hill where Percy
Nurses the hardship of his stitches, and walks and walks.
There is a dignity to this; there is a formality –
The flowers vivid as bandages, and the man mending.
They bow and stand : they suffer such attacks!
And the octogenarian loves the little flocks.
He is quite blue; the terrible wind tries his breathing.
The narcissi look up like children, quickly and whitely.
by Sylvia Plath