Monday 22 April 2013

A Poem for Spring

Well, April is almost over, and during the last few days it really does feel as Spring is finally here, weeks after its usual arrival. It's definitely warmer than it has been, flowers are blooming everywhere, and leaves on trees and bushes have put on an incredible burst of growth, as if they are trying to make up for lost time. There are masses of butterflies and bees around, and birds are obviously nesting.

So in honour of Spring, today's post is is one of my favourite poems: Home Thoughts, From Abroad, by Robert Browning. I'd always assumed he wrote it while he was living in Italy following his marriage to Elizabeth Barrett, but apparently it was written while he was visiting England in 1845. 

And here's a photo of blossom I took in the hedge alongside the canal. I'm not sure what it is, but I'm positive it's not pear I. think it may be some kind of philadelphus, but whatever it is, t is very delicate, and very spring-like.  

Home Thoughts, From Abroad

O, to be in England

Now that April 's there,

And whoever wakes in England
Sees, some morning, unaware,
That the lowest boughs and the brushwood sheaf
Round the elm-tree bole are in tiny leaf,
While the chaffinch sings on the orchard bough
In England—now!

And after April, when May follows,

And the whitethroat builds, and all the swallows!
Hark, where my blossom'd pear-tree in the hedge
Leans to the field and scatters on the clover
Blossoms and dewdrops—at the bent spray's edge—
That 's the wise thrush; he sings each song twice over,
Lest you should think he never could recapture
The first fine careless rapture!
And though the fields look rough with hoary dew,
All will be gay when noontide wakes anew
The buttercups, the little children's dower
—Far brighter than this gaudy melon-flower!

Robert Browning


  1. It's one of my favourite poems too - one I learnt by heart (I can only recite the first verse now, though!)

  2. I love that poem -- my mother used to say it to me when I was little, and I still say it to myself, though like Margaret (and my mother) I only know the first verse.
    Now please don't be offended, but much as I enjoy your blog, I find the new font very off-putting. I may be quite alone in this, but thought I must mention it, as I find I visit less often, or rather read carefully less often, because of it.

    1. I'm glad for the feedback regarding the font - I wasn't sure about it to be honest, and I must admit it's not as user friendly as it could be. I think I'll change it back. Actually, I still wonder if the whole thing is too over the top. Really, anything designed for reading should be kept plain and simple, so the appearance doesn't detract from the words.

  3. Oh, I so love that poem, and I feel it every spring (well, other times of the year too!). Did the blossom you saw have a lovely smell? It sure looks like 'my' pear tree which of course isn't in bloom yet!

    1. It did have a bit of a perfume - it's quite a tiny blossom. I thought pear was more like apple in size and apperance - we had one in the garden when I was a child, but I can't remember what it looked like.

  4. Oh I wish I could be in England too, to see the spring sights, esp. flowers and birds. The poem paints a beautiful picture, one I have to cherish in my imagination only. We're having balmy temp. now, but the ground is still brown, no green in sight. Will be going birding with the group tomorrow, hopefully seeing some species I haven't seen before.

    1. Everything here is rushing to make up for lost time. There are daffodils blooming (I don't think I've seen them this late) and pansies, and all kinds of other flowers, and the trees, hedges and shrubs are full of blossom, in all shades of pink, white and cream, and there are bees and butterflies feeding and flying basking in sunny spots, and birds singing away like mad... we've even had blue skies, sunshine, and warmth... it's been glorious!