Lily flowers in literature and poetry

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Do you love the beauty and elegance of Lily flowers? For many artists, poets, writers, and general admirers of nature alike this flower has inspired much creativity over the years. 


Its presence in literature, art, and poetry is known far and wide for its grace, fragility, and simplicity. From as early as Ancient Greece to even today’s modern literature; from vibrant Van Gogh’s brush strokes to delicate words penned on paper by genius authors – lilies have a unique power that can evoke emotion instantaneously with just a glimpse. 


In this blog post, we will explore the poetic significance of these amazing flowers a little more closely!

What does the lily symbolize in poetry?

The lily has long been a symbol of purity and innocence in poetry, often appearing in metaphorical or allusive references to beautiful maidens or beloved objects. This symbolism has been associated with literary works, lyrics, and poems for centuries, carrying through right into present-day discourse. 


Dante described lilies as “fair flower, loveliest amid the plants” in Purgatorio and Tennyson referenced lilies as symbols of death in Crossing the Bar. The lily’s white petals represent lovely innocence, so it’s not hard to see why poets have favored this particular flower throughout the ages. 


What other characters or symbols appear alongside them can also give us an insight into what any given author might have meant by invoking this iconic symbol.

What do lilies symbolize in literature?

Lilies have long been a source of symbolization in literature, with many authors using them to represent different ideas and concepts. In Greek mythology, lilies signify the goddess Hera’s love for Zeus, while medieval stories tell of their importance for innocence and purity. 


Shakespeare was known for writing about white lilies to express peace and harmony, as well as mourning and grief when utilized in death scenes. As if this wasn’t enough symbolism, later poems associated the flower with hope and joy in the context of Christ’s resurrection. 


Thus it’s no wonder that lilies have become a hard representation of strong emotions within literature over the years and centuries.

What is the famous poem about lilies?

William Wordsworth’s “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” is a poem that has earned its place in the pantheon of British poetry. Written in 1804 and published in 1807, the poem is meant to express the poet’s appreciation for the stunning beauty of lilies on the lake. 


The poem begins with the narrator, likely Wordsworth himself, remembering back to his walk when he encountered “a crowd of golden daffodils” that “tossed and reeled and danced” alongside the lake like joyful children. 


Ever since this fateful encounter, both he and his audience are left feeling joy from memories brought up of the beautiful sight. In this way, “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” captures what makes life worth living; relishing moments of pure beauty found around us every day.

Why is the lily called a flower of light in the poem The Perfect life?

The poem “The Perfect Life” by Jane Hirshfield speaks of a blazing lily, encapsulated in its mysterious beauty. By the symbolism of this beautiful flower, the poet conveys an enlightening concept about life and its transience. 


Through the description of the lily, the poem hints that beauty fades quickly like flowers, language that mirrors the brevity of life and its fragile qualities. That is why a lily is called a flower of light- it casts a bright beam into one’s darkest moments and serves as a reminder that our time on this earth is finite, and we should live life to the fullest while we can.


To conclude, it is clear that lily flowers have had a major presence throughout different points in history. Whether they were used to signify religious events or provide symbolically weighted words for an author, they have been an iconic part of literature and poetry’s narrative. 


From their influences on classic works such as “The Epic of Gilgamesh” to the deep symbols behind their appearances in Christian teachings, it is evident that lilies carry great significance and relevance. They are truly timeless artifacts in both culture and literature and will likely be remembered for many generations to come. 


Who knows how many more stories are waiting to be told using this noble flower? The possibilities may be endless.


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Lily Reed

Lily Reed

My name is Lily Reed, and this blog is about.... lilies!
Yes, I know. It's a true coincidence, but not really. My mother really loves this flower; she named me after him!
My mother started growing lilies when she was pregnant with me after the doctor told her not to move from the bed when she was 6 months pregnant. So it's been a special bond for us.

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