Buttercups

Yellow is the colour of Spring.

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Buttercups are one of those simple plants that we take for granted and barely acknowledge.  They are one of the flowers of childhood; plucking a flower and placing it under a friend’s chin where the reflected yellow would reveal whether or not they liked butter.  Their name may come from the idea that the yellow of the plant gives butter its distinctive colour, but buttercups are toxic and poisonous to cows.  The plants have a harsh pungent taste and will cause blistering of the mouth so cattle have learnt to avoid them.

 

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These buttercups were growing by the side of a woodland path in Warwickshire.  I was surprised by how high they grew unchecked.

 

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A glittering star unfolds

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The spring is coming by a many signs;
The trays are up, the hedges broken down,
That fenced the haystack, and the remnant shines
Like some old antique fragment weathered brown.
And where suns peep, in every sheltered place,
The little early buttercups unfold
A glittering star or two–till many trace
The edges of the blackthorn clumps in gold.
And then a little lamb bolts up behind
The hill and wags his tail to meet the yoe,
And then another, sheltered from the wind,
Lies all his length as dead–and lets me go
Close bye and never stirs but baking lies,
With legs stretched out as though he could not rise.

 

John Clare