20 March 2010

for the first day of spring

From AE Housman, one of the perfect lyrics in English, in just three quatrains (much like another perfect lyric, Larkin's This Be the Verse):


Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
Is hung with bloom along the bough,
And stands about the woodland ride
Wearing white for Eastertide.


Now, of my threescore years and ten,
Twenty will not come again,
And take from seventy springs a score,
It only leaves me fifty more.



And since to look at things in bloom
Fifty springs are little room,
About the woodlands I will go
To see the cherry hung with snow.



One of the many things I like about that poem is the way the middle stanza is taken up with convoluted self-referential calculations, much like the middle part of life.

Accuracy compels me to point out that the trees pictured here are actually apricot trees and therefore of lesser loveliness, and the blossoms disappeared a couple of weeks before spring officially arrived.

2 comments:

vicmarcam said...

Gorgeous photos.
Further evidence of my aging: I read the middle stanza, thinking, "What are you complaining about? Go take your twenty year old pain-free body and look at those cherry blossoms. Don't worry about me."

pjwv said...

Get those cherry trees off my damn lawn!

And I think there's a draft coming through those blossoms.