Spring is on the Way!
Feb 20, 2021
I was trying to find something to cheer us for the weekend and I found this quote.
Don't you love that?
We've started into Lent, as I've been saying all week, and although it's a time for reflection, it's also a time of 'anticipation' of Easter.
I love the optimism and simplicity of this thought. And if you're a bit fed up of February, take heart. Spring is on the way!
I have some daffodils in my garden already, and I've seen snowdrops and even some primroses in the hedgerows! I do live in the farthest south outreaches of the British Isles, in Jersey in the Channel Islands, where we do have milder winters than other places, so we are already on course for spring, despite the bitter cold and even snow of recent weeks!
But when I saw the quote it also got me thinking about the author - Patience Strong.
It's a name I've known well pretty much all my life. I remember my mum having several Patience Strong poetry books when I was young. It was quite spiritual poetry, the sort that was great for church, or inspiring women's groups. Patience's poetry is traditional in that it rhymes and it's simple, often short verse, and yes, sometimes sentimental, with themes of nature, faith and strength.
So I did a bit of digging to find out more about the woman behind the verse.
The poet was actually born Winifred Emma May in June 1907 in England. Her poems, prose and thoughts have been collected in numerous anthologies, and they are often brought together to create a collection of 'daily'' inspirational thoughts. Some under the title of 'Friendship Book'.
What I didn't know was that Winnifred also wrote books, dealing with Christianity and practical psychology, and that she was an accomplished musician and lyricist. I read that in 1930, she even wrote a song for the 4th birthday of Princess Elizabeth - now Queen Elizabeth II.
She was much more than the seemingly sweet sentimental poetry I first knew her for.
Patience's popular poems were first featured in The Daily Mirror newspaper in England in the 1930s and throughout the Second World War her daily poems appeared in a section called 'The Quiet Corner'. They brought comfort and inspiration to a generation of people living through terrible conflict.
But why 'Patience Strong'? Well apparently the name came from a book by an American poet and writer called Adeline Dutton Train Whitney. She published more than 20 books for girls in her lifetime, in the mid to late 19th century. ADT Whitney's books expressed a traditional view of women's roles and were popular throughout her life. One of them, published in 1868 was entitled 'Patience Strong's Outings'.
I wonder if that book made a deep impact on Winnifred? Maybe it was a book that had inspired her as a young girl? Who knows?
Whatever the reason for her choosing her pen name, I've always been a bit intrigued by it and I think it was a clever choice. It mixes two important emotions - Patience and Strength. To be truly patient with the world and with life, and with relationships takes really strength. And the name has certainly stood the test of time, because Patience aka Winnifred's poetry and words are still around, and enjoyed by millions of people every year.
Earlier I was chatting about spring flowers, so as we wait for Spring to appear - here's one of her poems which is just in the moment ...
by Patience Strong
I've put my bulbs in coloured bowls and hidden them away -
Inside my cupboard, where they cannot see the light of day -
I've put them in the soft black mould as cosy as can be -
And in the quiet darkness they will work their mystery . . .
And when all things lie lifeless locked in winter's frozen sleep -
Inside my cupboard one sweet day a pale green tip will peep.
I'll bring them out into the light and set them in my room -
And silently and secretly they'll grow and bud and bloom -
The grey old house will waken from its drowsy slumbering,
To find the rooms ablaze with flowers, as if it were the Spring! . . .
With daffodils and hyacinths, narcissi, tulips too -
A flaring mass of loveliness in gold and pink and blue -
And I shall smile, remembering my small part in the show -
For though we plant and tend the bulbs -
it's God that makes them grow.
(found on Bulbs, Patience Strong Poems (stresslesscountry.com)
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