Home thoughts – from home

April garden blossomsLockdown 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?

 

Spring garden border“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.

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National Poetry Day

Calooh! Callay! Hip hip hooray!
Today is National Poetry Day.
The pundits say one could do worse
Than pen a line or two of verse.
But if originality comes hard,
Then here’s another way to be a bard:
You just create a poem that combines
A mix of other poets’ deathless lines.

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills.
All mimsy were the borogoves,
Among those dark satanic mills.
The boy stood on the burning deck,
Beware the jabberwock, my son!
My love is like a red red rose,
Miss Joan Hunter-Dunn, Miss Joan Hunter-Dunn.
In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree.
There’s peace and holy quiet there,
And is there honey still for tea?

That’s twelve lines done. Stick two more on it
And there you go, a blooming sonnet!

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