Thursday 8 February 2024

Daffodils – Day 6


Daffodils – Day 6

Robert Herrick (1591-1674) wrote the following poem in 1648.

To Daffodils

Fair Daffodils, we weep to see

You haste away so soon;

As yet the early-rising sun

Has not attain’d his noon.

Stay, stay,

Until the hasting day

Has run

But to the even-song;

And, having pray’d together, we

Will go with you along.


We have short time to stay, as you,

We have as short a spring;

As quick a growth to meet decay,

As you, or anything.

We die

As your hours do, and dry


Like to the summer’s rain;

Or as the pearls of morning’s dew,

Ne’er to be found again.

In 1986 the daffodil was adopted by the Marie Curie charity as a symbol of strength, resilience, hope, joy and new beginnings. Marie Curie is the UK’s leading end of life charity. The annual Great Daffodil Appeal occurs in March and each daffodil worn represents a donation to the charity.

There are several hospices across the country and Marie Curie nurses also attend terminally ill patients in their own homes. My sister’s nurse made her last days full of laughter and Beryl died with a smile on her lips.

The American Cancer Society, the Cancer Society New Zealand the Canadian Cancer Society, Cancer Council of Australia all use the yellow cheerfulness of the daffodil to symbolise their campaigns.

Maria Salomea Skłodowska (1867-1934) was born in the Kingdom of Poland, then part of the Russian Empire, in Warsaw. She studied at Warsaw University and then later in Paris, where she subsequently conducted her scientific research. She married the French physicist Pierre Curie and it is by the name Marie Curie that she is remembered. In 1903, with her husband and the physicist, Henri Becquerel, she shared the Nobel Prize for Physics for pioneering work in the development of what she called the theory of ‘radioactivity. She and her husband were the first married couple to win a Nobel Prize.

In 19ll, Marie Curie won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry for her discovery of the elements polonium and radium. She remains the only person to have won a Nobel Prize in two sciences. During WWI she developed mobile radiography units for use in field hospitals. It is probable that she died, in 1966, from the effects of radiation exposure, the official diagnosis being aplastic anaemia.

Marie Curie’s elder daughter, Irène, won the 1935 Nobel Prize for Chemistry with her husband, Frédéric Joliot-Curie. Her younger daughter, Ève, became the director of UNICEF and her husband was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1965, as a representative of UNICEF. It is quite remarkable for one family to have received such acclaim.


  1. I remember learning today's poem at junior school. On reflection, the theme is not perhaps one I would chose as part of the curriculum for a ten year old.
    Cheers, Gail.

    1. It is rather too sombre for a ten-year-old, quite funereal, in fact.

  2. I recently saw a film about her life . Such a sad ending for such a talented woman.

  3. A beautiful yet poignant poem, and what an amazing woman Marie Curie was. How sad though that she probably died from the effects of radiation exposure. xxx

  4. Your daffodils are beautiful.
    Many thanks for sharing the information about Marie Curie.

    All the best Jan

    1. Marie Curie was an incredible woman, particularly at a time when women were often underrated, if not actively ignored.

  5. Thank you for such an inspiring post. Daffodils are surely a flower that inspires hope. We have another half dozen opening now. Yours have turned out splendidly, haven't they?

    1. They have done well. I doubt the garden daffodils will fare so well - the dogs don't notice where they're galloping!

  6. They were raised by parents who did not give one whit about defining roles by sex. This environment cannot help but create women who do not accept conventional roles as well.

    1. I agree. Look at and develop the talents of every child, regardless of sex.

  7. Lovely photos and very interesting info. The Curie family were truly an amazing family!
    As we drove to my daughter’s a few days ago, I noticed a huge gathering of daffodils along the grass verge; they must’ve been a very early variety. A very cheery sight indeed!

  8. Some do bloom exceedingly early. There are shows for 'early' and 'late' varieties.

  9. Hi Janice - some history in the Curie family - I hadn't realised. Hospice nurses/carers/doctors are very special ... my uncle and aunt were helped with outreach workers from the local hospice: in fact the nurse recognised my uncle when his time came ... it might have been the house! But still it made him feel special in his last few days. I'm glad your sister had such a caring end - cheers Hilary

  10. It's a gift to be able to offer comfort and succour to the dying. People working in palliative care aren't sufficiently recognised.


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