daffodils, tossing their heads in sprightly dance, were
small- time performers compared with Norfolk's graceful
reeds, however delightful their setting in the green
vistas of Lakeland.
Today, as I looked out to a fringe
of marsh where tree-shadows formed a dark back-cloth and
sunlight flooded an open area in front, some well-spaced
reeds held the stage and displayed their perfect freedom
of movement as the wind swirled about them.
They looked for all the world like human dancers,
swaying, writhing, bowing and thrusting.
At times their gestures were those of a group of
African braves leaning forward with levelled spears;
then they were naiads rising from a pool with tresses
flying in an abandon of feminine grace and pale arms
pointing to the heavens. They sprang and stood still,
like ballet-dancers on tiptoe, assuming classical
postures only to pass into the wild whirling of a melee
of dervishes as an eddy struck them.
There were moments when the stiff leaves streaked out
horizontally and trembled or shuddered in a streaming
breeze, and sometimes they fluttered like flags in the
hand of a signaller, with a military rhythm.
The only music accompanying the reed dancers was
their own whispering as they touched crisply in passing,
and a faint murmuration of wind in the willows nearby;
but the scene conjured up a sweetness of wandering
harmonies in the mind: of flutes and panpipes and soft,
crooning voices; of drums in the jungle and pibrochs in
the hills, while I came to see every ecstasy of the
dances before me a parallel in human grace expressing
the freedom of spirit that lies within us all.