Tuesday, 19 July 2011

The Dandelions

Rummaging through the archive at the weekend, I came across what is probably my oldest piece of writing (that I still possess). This was written in my first year at secondary school, aged about 11 or 12, and was selected along with 5 other pieces of descriptive writing from other classmates, to form part of a typed selection by our English teacher to present to parents as illustrative of the best of the classes work. Most of the other pieces were poetry, but I had decided upon prose.

At the parents evening, these sheets were handed out, and my parents were somewhat mortified to learn how the state of their garden - and the weeds in it - were being presented to other parents, especially when the English teacher decided to read mine out loud. Fortunately, I wasn't there to witness this, but I was told about it afterwards!

I don't remember much about writing it, except that it took a good deal of time to construct. I always found writing assignments very difficult at school, especially to produce something of any length. My real joy was the sciences, although I also enjoyed history, but English was always a hard slog. I was lucky to have private tuition with Alice Omissi, a brilliant English teacher, who taught me how to construct arguments along the lines of Francis Bacon's essays, but that was a different kind of writing - what Karen Armstrong calls "logos" rather than "mythos". I really only began to find writing much easier after I had broken from any writing for around four years from 17 to 20, and then returned to find it much easier to let the words flow, and the images come.

The Dandelions

As I walked to the bottom of our garden I saw, under the pussy-willow tree , a clump of dandelions slightly swaying in the cool, gentle breeze. I stooped to pick one. After I had picked it, accidently blew its seeds off; so, after watching them slowly but gently drift away, I plucked another one that was still in flower. It was a bright shiny golden colour and rather similar to a sunflower although much smaller. As I watched it, it tossed and turned violently in the now increasing wind, reminding me of a horse.

Looking around, I noticed that although the dandelions are common garden weeds, they seem to grow better in our garden than normal flowers do for some peculiar reason.

After I had obtained a trowel, I began to dig a dandelion out of the soil. Unfortunately there were many roots from other weeds tangled with it, so it was quite a period of time before it was finally freed.

Suddenly the sun appeared and I noticed how how magnificent it really was, with its bright orange-yellow colour gleaming in the sun's rays. A few minutes later, I managed to find a suitable container to put the dandelion in, As soon as the dandelion was inside the container, I walked slowly back to the house.


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