Lockdown is treating us relatively kindly this Easter. Our garden is blooming, and the woods where I take my one permitted walk each day are a blaze of colour too, with birds going bananas on almost every tree. Yesterday it all reminded me of a favourite poem, Robert Browning’s “Home Thoughts from Abroad.” I remembered it from schooldays, and I recited it to myself and the dog (but I don’t think she was paying attention.) And I wondered: What would Mr. Browning make of our present weird situation?
“Oh to be in England now that April’s there.”
Would Robert Browning wish that now, with lockdown everywhere,
And troubles piled on troubles? Why yes, it’s my belief
He’d still recall the magic of the greening brushwood sheaf.
For the chaffinch sings on the orchard bough,
In England, now.
And after April, even though
There’s yet more grief, Browning would know
You still can see the blossoms on the clover,
And hear the wise thrush sing his songs twice over,
To prove that still, in spite of everything,
You can’t lock down the spring.