the green fuse

The force that through the green fuse drives the flower
drives my red blood; that writhes the roots of trees
rouses my desire;
and my flesh runs with the rich sap’s flood
as my limbs spring with the same green fever….

When I lived in Montreal winters were bitterly cold, and so long. Even into March everything was still smothered in thick snow, gripped hard in grey ice. Other than the dark blue-green of a few conifers in parks, no living vegetation was visible and it felt like the whole world was held in a sterile stasis. By late February I’d start to feel a deep longing, an almost physical thirsting for greenness, and I’d be scouring the city for the sight of the slightest green blade poking or peeking through.

The first time I was back visiting Scotland in the winter I was amazed by the colour of city parks and gardens and would wander across lawns reverently marvelling at their soft green hue, brushed only lightly by sparkling morning frosts and giving way to stronger vibrant green by mid-morning; and when the shoots of snowdrops and crocuses came pushing through in late January, it felt miraculous. I felt that I had come to some secret northern paradise.

I’d kneel down to feel the firm fine shoots between my fingers, and cup their swollen buds in my hands trying to feel the force that was thrusting them from the earth, pushing them spear-like through the grass.

This year (now back in Scotland properly) the snowdrops came as usual, their fragile forms belying their hardiness, as they bobbed up and down through snowfall after snowfall, and I eagerly anticipated the (comparatively) early Scottish greening. But as the crocuses and daffodils waited coiled beneath the soil, the unusually late spring drew my green thirst again, as trees stayed bare and late snows and cold winds blew over the pale land.

Until all at once, everywhere: buds folding out green fingers, ferns unrolling feathered fronds and even the gorse bursting brightly, as the world quickens into flower, flutters into leafy green flame.


Oh greenness! Green for growth, for firm but supple strength; green for a fresh profusion of life. And green for gladness, for this force that germinates and generates, driving the flower, and driving all of us, in our continual and generous emergence.

Green for gladness; green for verdant, luminant life. And green for gratitude: for the sunlight coursing through the floral fuse and – as we go to greet it – for the sunlight pouring through ourselves.


Dylan Thomas, ‘The force that through the green fuse drives the flower

Strathendrick, Stirlingshire, Scotland / St David’s Head, Pembrokeshire, Wales
30th March / 4th May 2013