In a Bed of Daffodil Sky

It’s March, and now the winter gives way to spring. This year, this is also the month when the planet Venus, as morning star, gives way to the glare of the Sun.

Of course, Alfred Tennyson said this so much more poetically, but before we go there, let’s consider the set up:

The Moon is a waning crescent all week. If you look close to the eastern horizon 40 minute before sunrise Thursday and Friday this week (March 7&8) , you might catch the Moon, slipping past Venus in the twilight. Then, on Sunday, March 10, the Moon is New. This is the last New Moon of the winter. By the time this Moon comes to Full Phase on March 25, it will be Spring, and after that, the next New Moon (April 8) will cause a total solar eclipse.

Now let’s get back to Tennyson, and to his poem Maud (Part I):

Come into the garden, Maud, 

      For the black bat, night, has flown, 

Come into the garden, Maud, 

      I am here at the gate alone; 

And the woodbine spices are wafted abroad, 

      And the musk of the rose is blown. 

   For a breeze of morning moves, 

      And the planet of Love is on high, 

Beginning to faint in the light that she loves 

      In a bed of daffodil sky, 

To faint in the light of the sun she loves, 

      To faint in his light, and to die.

Tennyson’s goes on to weave roses and lilies, violets and the moon into the sighing winds of March and its equinox:

Now half to the setting moon are gone, 

      And half to the rising day; 

And as for what’s happening in the sky, though Venus is fainting into the light of the Sun now, Venus will shine forth in the daytime next month, demonstrating the power of love through the darkness of eclipse.

Dreaming of daffodils,


Hear this episode of The Storyteller’s Night Sky on Interlochen Public Radio Monday morning, March 4, and on podcasts anytime, wherever you listen. Cover image from Sky&Telescope.