The gladdest thing

It's Keukenhof again! Countless beautiful flowers in this corner of the Netherlands, March 2007

It’s Keukenhof again! Countless beautiful flowers in the Netherlands, March 2007

“I will be the gladdest thing under the sun!
I will touch a hundred flowers and not pick one.”

— Edna St. Vincent Millay

Millay was one of the first poets whose work I loved, and I learned this verse as a girl.  I have said it silently to myself countless times over the years.  It captures the joyful exuberance that I feel every spring.  I hope you will feel some of this same gladness today!

More flowers to see here:

Celebrate daffodils with Wordsworth at gardeningnirvana

Let Bindu show you how beautiful pansies are

Enjoy lovely flower portraits by Photography Art Plus

This post was originally published seven years ago today. The original post, comments and photo are linked, along with two other related posts, below. These links to related posts, and their thumbnail photos, do not appear in the blog feed; they are only visible when viewing the individual posts by clicking on each one. I have no idea why, nor do I know how they choose the related posts. That’s just the way WordPress does things.


  1. Good morning, Julia! Yikes! I’m not a flower-toucher. Although I may cross a street to get my nose into someone’s rose, at some point in my life I either heard, or thought I heard, something about not touching flowers. Either a variety doesn’t tolerate skin oils, or bruises too easily …
    I’m thinking it may have been Mom’s African Violets, or maybe orchids? At any rate, I am certainly missing out on a great sensory experience. Rose petals, for example, are so soft and smooth.
    But here’s a lesson to note: I used to work at a florist shop, and one day we had several dozen roses beyond their selling date, so, having heard the saying “a bed of roses,” I wanted to experience this. I carefully removed the petals from every rose, not folding or bruising them, and put them on my bottom sheet before climbing into bed.
    They felt … COLD!!!!
    They were also bothersome to clean up, fluttering all over the place. Sheesh. What a bad idea! “A bed of roses” ?? It’s “for the birds” !!!
    (Hmmm…. “For the birds….” How can I ….)
    Nevermind – lesson learned: sayings are just sayings!

    • Silly me. I never once thought about the words “touch a hundred flowers” in the literal sense. It seemed a poetic device, suggesting that one could enjoy the flowers without trying to own them. I don’t go around touching flowers myself, but the poem’s essential message “touched” me in the figurative sense. 🙂

  2. Those things that we find value in during a different time and circumstance never lose their meaning. For somewhere down the road awaits an event that will call them forward again.

  3. Lovely.

    • Thank you, Alys! So is your post about Wordsworth and the daffodils.

Thanks for encouraging others by sharing your thoughts:

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