What is the speaker talking about in "Snowdrops"?

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in "Snowdrops," the reader is addressed by a flower. Snowdrops are usually the first flowers to appear in the spring—where I live, I usually see them in late February. It is always a joy to see them—can warm weather be far behind?

The poem, however, is about the risk, and...

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in "Snowdrops," the reader is addressed by a flower. Snowdrops are usually the first flowers to appear in the spring—where I live, I usually see them in late February. It is always a joy to see them—can warm weather be far behind?

The poem, however, is about the risk, and unexpectedness, of the flower's survival:

I did not expect to survive,

earth suppressing me. I didn't expect

to waken again, to feel

in damp earth my body

able to respond again, remembering

after so long how to open again

in the cold light of earliest spring—

As readers, we are challenged to empathize with the flower. Like the flower, we are meant to reflect on our own lives— do we risk everything to be in the world once more? Seen in this light, the poem becomes an expression of optimism in the face of extreme hardship. It's possible to read this as a poem about anxiety, about the fear of death (or of living), or about the fear of becoming vulnerable, of appearing before others. Perhaps, like the flower, we readers also "risk joy" in reading the poem.

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