The Cottage Smallholder

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Hyacinths in The Waste Land

indoor hyacinthsThere’s something very sexy about hyacinths. Their fresh, heady exotic scent draws one way beyond the waxy flower heads and squeak of constraining leaves.

Danny buried his nose in a pot of them and glanced up at me,
“Mmmmm. Lovely. They smell of spring.”

And they do but the scent has a deeper resonance for me. Each year the hyacinth draws me back to T.S. Eliot. When the flowers have finally come into their own and the house is heavy with their sultry perfume, I’m searching for my copy of The Waste Land. Somehow the flowers and the poem are interwoven for me, both returning every year, familiar yet always surprising.

You can read The Waste Land through this free link
I first encountered the poem at seventeen. I can still almost smell the emotion in these lines:

‘You gave me hyacinths first a year ago;
‘They called me the hyacinth girl.’
”Yet when we came back, late, from the Hyacinth garden
Your arms full, and your hair wet, I could not
Speak, and my eyes failed, I was neither
Living nor dead, and I knew nothing,
Looking into the heart of light, the silence.

Extract from The Waste Land, T S Eliot (1922)

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