Hazel catkins [only found out what type they were today]. Catkins come from the obsolete Dutch word katteken meaning kitten because of their resemblance to kitten tails. They are acknowledged as one of the first signs of Spring.
Rootling around today I came across this poem by Margaret Fairless Barber [1869-1901] who wrote under the pseudonym of Michael Fairless. Hope you enjoy it.
Hark how the merry daffodils
Fling golden music to the hills!
And how the hills send echoing down,
Through wind-swept turf and moorland brown,
The murmurs of a thousand rills
That mock the song-birds' liquid trills!
The hedge released from Winter's frown
Shews jewelled branch and willow crown;
While all the earth with pleasure trills
And 'dances with the daffodils'.
Out, out ye flowers! Up and shout!
Staid Winter's past and Spring's about
To lead your ranks in joyous rout;
To string the hawthorn's milky pearls,
And gild the grass with celandine;
To dress the catkins' tasselled curls,
To twist the tendrils of the vine.
She wakes the wind-flower from her sleep,
And lights the woods with April's moon;
The violets lift their heads to peep,
The daisies brave the sun at noon.
The gentle wind from out the west
Toys with the lilac pretty maids;
Ruffles the meadow's verdant-vest,
And rings the bluebells in the glades;
The ash buds change their sombre suit,
The orchards blossom white and red-
Promise of Autumn's brighter fruit,
When Spring's voluptuousness had fled.
Awake! awake, O throstle sweet!
And haste with all your choir to greet
This Queen who comes with wakening feet.
Persephone with grateful eyes
Salutes the Sun- 'tis Paradise:
Then hastens down the dewy meads,
Past where the herd contented feeds,
Past where the furrows hide the grain,
For harvesting of sun and rain;
To where Demeter patient stands
With longing lips and outstretched hands,
Until the dawning of one face
Across the void of time and space
Shall bring again her day of grace.
Rejoice, O Earth! Rejoice and sing!
This is the promise of the Spring
And this is the world's remembering.