Sweet Spring

Today’s post comes to us from Barbara in Rivertown

In honor of it finally being April, and spring being so much more believable, I have rediscovered a favorite poem, taken from the Good Reads website:

                                                                   Sweet Spring            E.E. Cummings

sweet spring is your
time is my time is our
time for springtime is lovetime
and viva sweet love

(all the merry little birds are
flying in the floating in the
very spirits singing in
are winging in the blossoming)

lovers go and lovers come
awandering awondering
but any two are perfectly
alone there’s nobody else alive

(such a sky and such a sun
i never knew and neither did you
and everybody never breathed
quite so many kinds of yes)

not a tree can count his leaves
each herself by opening
but shining who by thousands mean
only one amazing thing

(secretly adoring shyly
tiny winging darting floating
merry in the blossoming
always joyful selves are singing)

sweet spring is your
time is my time is our
time for springtime is lovetime
and viva sweet love

Do you have a favorite poem, or a favorite poet?  (Doesn’t have to be well-known.)


48 thoughts on “Sweet Spring”

  1. It sure is Spring out in Tacona. Husband is more a poetry fan than I am, I will think on this today and see what I can tbink of. I have always liked Cummings.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love this one by Bill Holm:

    A marriage is risky business these days
    Says some old and prudent voice inside.
    We don’t need twenty children anymore
    To keep the family line alive,
    Or gather up the hay before the rain.
    No law demands respectability.
    Love can arrive without certificate or cash.
    History and experience both make clear
    That men and women do not hear
    The music of the world in the same key,
    Rather rolling dissonances doomed to clash.
    So what is left to justify a marriage?
    Maybe only the hunch that half the world
    Will ever be present in any room
    With just a single pair of eyes to see it.
    Whatever is invisible to one
    Is to the other an enormous golden lion
    Calm and sleeping in the easy chair.
    After many years, if things go right
    Both lion and emptiness are always there;
    The one never true without the other.
    But the dark secret of the ones long married,
    A pleasure never mentioned to the young,
    Is the sweet heat made from two bodies in a bed
    Curled together on a winter night,
    The smell of the other always in the quilt,
    The hand set quietly on the other’s flank
    That carries news from another world
    Light-years away from the one inside
    That you always thought you inhabited alone.
    The heat in that hand could melt a stone.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Rise and Rhyme Baboons!

    I have found Auden’s attitude towards loss and grief to suit me perfectly in his poem, Funeral Blues. There are many forms of loss, but this poem seems to express the grief as few forms can.

    Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
    Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
    Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
    Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

    Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
    Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead,
    Put crêpe bows round the white necks of the public
    Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

    He was my North, my South, my East and West,
    My working week and my Sunday rest,
    My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
    I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong.

    The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
    Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
    Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.
    For nothing now can ever come to any good.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I recenly gave that one to a friend whose wife had died. He’s going to recite it at her memorial service. I also gave him CS Lewis’ writing about grieving.


  4. emily dickinson
    john donne
    w. b. yeats
    elizabeth bishop
    sara teasdale
    lawrence ferlinghetti
    e. a. robinson
    wendell berry
    john betjeman (one of his of current usage)

    In Westminster Abbey
    John Betjeman
    Let me take this other glove off
    As the vox humana swells,
    And the beauteous fields of Eden
    Bask beneath the Abbey bells.
    Here, where England’s statesmen lie,
    Listen to a lady’s cry.

    Gracious Lord, oh bomb the Germans.
    Spare their women for Thy Sake,
    And if that is not too easy
    We will pardon Thy Mistake.
    But, gracious Lord, whate’er shall be,
    Don’t let anyone bomb me.

    Keep our Empire undismembered
    Guide our Forces by Thy Hand,
    Gallant blacks from far Jamaica,
    Honduras and Togoland;
    Protect them Lord in all their fights,
    And, even more, protect the whites.

    Think of what our Nation stands for,
    Books from Boots and country lanes,
    Free speech, free passes, class distinction,
    Democracy and proper drains.
    Lord, put beneath Thy special care
    One-eighty-nine Cadogan Square.

    Although dear Lord I am a sinner,
    I have done no major crime;
    Now I’ll come to Evening Service
    Whensoever I have the time.
    So, Lord, reserve for me a crown.
    And do not let my shares go down.

    I will labour for Thy Kingdom,
    Help our lads to win the war,
    Send white feathers to the cowards
    Join the Women’s Army Corps,
    Then wash the Steps around Thy Throne
    In the Eternal Safety Zone.

    Now I feel a little better,
    What a treat to hear Thy Word,
    Where the bones of leading statesmen,
    Have so often been interr’d.
    And now, dear Lord, I cannot wait
    Because I have a luncheon date.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. The Last Laugh
    John Betjeman

    I made hay while the sun shone.
    My work sold.
    Now, if the harvest is over
    And the world cold,
    Give me the bonus of laughter
    As I lose hold.

    Liked by 5 people

  6. I’m surprised that nobody has yet mentioned that April is National Poetry Month.

    My favorite poem? What’s the mood, the season, the circumstance, the weather? Might as well ask for my favorite star in the sky. I’ve written poetry myself in sessions at the Loft and with a private tutor. I approach it as painting, with words as my medium. But I have to confess a certain ambivalence about poetry. Fact is, outside of a context like those mentioned, I don’t write poetry. I admire those people who feel so compelled, who can’t NOT write poetry but I don’t seem to be one of them. As with my painting, I enjoy the process but I am indifferent to doing anything with the finished product.

    Likewise I have to say that even though I have lots of poetry in my library, I rarely turn to it for enjoyment. It’s seldom my most urgent choice. There have been periods when I was more engaged with poetry and I may return to that but right now other reading is more compelling to me and I see my time as finite.

    I like the writing of Billy Collins, especially poems like “Forgetting” and “The Lanyard”, but I suspect that in some circles Collins is considered too accessible, as if the depth of a poem is measured by its obscurity. I’m also partial to Emily Dickinson, Wallace Stevens and William Carlos Williams.

    Here’s a poem that, because of its euphonious and alliterative qualities, is fun to recite:

    Binsey Poplars Gerard Manley Hopkins

    My aspens dear, whose airy cages quelled,
      Quelled or quenched in leaves the leaping sun,
      All felled, felled, are all felled;
        Of a fresh and following folded rank
                    Not spared, not one
                    That dandled a sandalled
             Shadow that swam or sank
    On meadow & river & wind-wandering weed-winding bank.
      O if we but knew what we do
             When we delve or hew —
         Hack and rack the growing green!
              Since country is so tender
         To touch, her being só slender,
         That, like this sleek and seeing ball
         But a prick will make no eye at all,
         Where we, even where we mean
                     To mend her we end her,
                When we hew or delve:
    After-comers cannot guess the beauty been.
      Ten or twelve, only ten or twelve
         Strokes of havoc unselve
               The sweet especial scene,
         Rural scene, a rural scene,
         Sweet especial rural scene.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Margaret, are you grieving
      Over Goldengrove unleaving?
      Leaves, like the things of man, you
      With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?
      Ah! as the heart grows older
      It will come to such sights colder
      By and by, nor spare a sigh
      Though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie;
      And yet you will weep and know why.
      Now no matter, child, the name:
      Sorrow’s springs are the same.
      Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed
      What héart héard of, ghóst guéssed:
      It is the blight man was born for,
      It is Margaret you mourn for.


      1. Rupert Brooke seems to echo him in some ways

        When Beauty and Beauty meet
        All naked, fair to fair,
        The earth is crying-sweet,
        And scattering-bright the air,
        Eddying, dizzying, closing round,
        With soft and drunken laughter;
        Veiling all that may befall
        After — after —

        Where Beauty and Beauty met,
        Earth’s still a-tremble there,
        And winds are scented yet,
        And memory-soft the air,
        Bosoming, folding glints of light,
        And shreds of shadowy laughter;
        Not the tears that fill the years
        After — after —

        Liked by 1 person

  7. my first english course at the U was survey of english lit, 3 quarters long, which i took to become an english teacher, never really much wanting to teach high lit. i struggled through it, more from interest than aptitude, except for chaucer, donne, goldsmith and a poem here and there. we breezed through poetry from 1880 to WWII, which is when my interest really perked up.
    my first teaching job in lindstrom i made a bif hit by teaching poetry from simon and garfunkle and dylan and couple others and lighter more accessible poetry, which is why i think i taught poetry better than most because i didin’t much care for
    12th grade enlgish then was survey of english lit. i would look at a few of my classmates, good kids, not very academic or bright or motivated and wonder if any bit of this would impact them. fir a long time my focus was on writing and language and speech and thinking and little of high lit until i started a.p. elgiush

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I remember in high school trying to memorize bits of Coleridge and Tennyson and Elizabeth Barrett Browning, but that was extracurricular and self motivated. I remember nothing at all from high school English classes and presume that the quality of instruction was low if it made no impact on someone personally interested as I was. I do remember that one of my English teachers was a football coach who needed to also teach something. I think that tells you everything you need to know about how much English as a subject was valued.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. All I remember of HS poetry was that I found it without meaning and not understandable. It had nothing to do with my life at all.

      Our teacher, a limited person at best, had no ability to bridge the chasm to make it meaningful, so until my very late 50’s I did not really take an interest in poetry. I still find much 19th century poetry without meaning.

      And then came Billy Collins!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. That reminds me of this Billy Collins poem.

        Introduction to Poetry

        I ask them to take a poem
        and hold it up to the light
        like a color slide

        or press an ear against its hive.

        I say drop a mouse into a poem
        and watch him probe his way out,

        or walk inside the poem’s room
        and feel the walls for a light switch.

        I want them to waterski
        across the surface of a poem
        waving at the author’s name on the shore.

        But all they want to do
        is tie the poem to a chair with rope
        and torture a confession out of it.

        They begin beating it with a hose
        to find out what it really means.

        Liked by 3 people

    2. Seventh through 12th grade English was dismal in my school. Two out of six decent teachers slavishly following the textbooks keyed to the standard idea of English curriculum at the time.Two decent, four awful. One of my motivations for teaching English was to try to fix that.


      1. One of the problems with the curriculum, I think in retrospect, was that “official” recognized poetry and poets were always remote in locality and in time. In the ’80s I made friends with a group of poets who were also small press printers and binders. The poetry and the artistry of the book were of one piece. I produced some illustrations for a couple of books and even wrote a short essay for one. It was so relevant and rich an experience that it changed my perspective on poets and poetry permanently. I still have connections to that community. I wish that my exposure to poetry in high school could have been like that.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. As you can imagine, Bill, I wasn’t really exposed to “English” poetry in the original language until after I arrived in this country. I should probably qualify that by saying “if you don’t count song lyrics.” By “English” I mean poetry written in English or American. I have such a fondness for poetry, and much of that is rooted in Danish poetry that, unfortunately, I can’t share here. My high school Danish teacher, Fru Nikolajsen, was such a wonderful teacher. It was clear to everyone in my class that she was not so much teaching us, as passing on a love for the written word in Danish. I can still hear her in my mind’s ear, and it still brings a smile to my lips.

          Liked by 1 person

  9. I’ve seen references to this a couple of times recently and I think it aptly captures the expressions of grandiosity in the air:


    Percy Bysshe Shelley

    I met a traveller from an antique land,
    Who said—“Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
    Stand in the desert. . . . Near them, on the sand,
    Half sunk a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
    And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
    Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
    Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
    The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;
    And on the pedestal, these words appear:
    My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings;
    Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!
    Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
    Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare
    The lone and level sands stretch far away.”

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Here is my favorite Louise Erdrich poem, “Advice to Myself”.
    Leave the dishes.
    Let the celery rot in the bottom drawer of the refrigerator
    and an earthen scum harden on the kitchen floor.
    Leave the black crumbs in the bottom of the toaster.
    Throw the cracked bowl out and don’t patch the cup.
    Don’t patch anything. Don’t mend. Buy safety pins.
    Don’t even sew on a button.
    Let the wind have its way, then the earth
    that invades as dust and then the dead
    foaming up in gray rolls underneath the couch.
    Talk to them. Tell them they are welcome.
    Don’t keep all the pieces of the puzzles
    or the doll’s tiny shoes in pairs, don’t worry
    who uses whose toothbrush or if anything
    matches, at all.
    Except one word to another. Or a thought.
    Pursue the authentic – decide first
    what is authentic,
    then go after it with all your heart.
    Your heart, that place
    you don’t even think of cleaning out.
    That closet stuffed with savage mementos.
    Don’t sort the paper clips from screws from saved baby teeth
    or worry if we’re all eating cereal for dinner
    again. Don’t answer the telephone, ever,
    or weep over anything at all that breaks.
    Pink molds will grow within those sealed cartons
    in the refrigerator. Accept new forms of life
    and talk to the dead
    who drift in through the screened windows, who collect
    patiently on the tops of food jars and books.
    Recycle the mail, don’t read it, don’t read anything
    except what destroys
    the insulation between yourself and your experience
    or what pulls down or what strikes at or what shatters
    this ruse you call necessity.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. A Sara Teasdale Spring poem
    May Night
    The spring is fresh and fearless
    And every leaf is new,
    The world is brimmed with moonlight,
    The lilac brimmed with dew.

    Here in the moving shadows
    I catch my breath and sing—
    My heart is fresh and fearless
    And over-brimmed with spring.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Teasdale in the spirit of Dickinson

    Life has loveliness to sell,
    All beautiful and splendid things,
    Blue waves whitened on a cliff,
    Soaring fire that sways and sings,
    And children’s faces looking up,
    Holding wonder like a cup.

    Life has loveliness to sell,
    Music like the curve of gold,
    Scent of pine trees in the rain,
    Eyes that love you, arms that hold,
    And for your spirit’s still delight,
    Holy thoughts that star the night.

    Spend all you have for loveliness,
    Buy it and never count the cost;
    For one white singing hour of peace
    Count many a year of strife well lost,
    And for a breath of ecstasy
    Give all you have been, or could be.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. A Wendell Berry:

    Sometimes hidden from me
in daily custom and in trust,
so that I live by you unaware

    as by the beating of my heart.

    Suddenly you flare in my sight,

    a wild rose blooming at the edge
of thicket, grace and light
where yesterday was only shade,

    and once again I am blessed, choosing

    again what I chose before.

    And one by A.E. Housman:

    When I was one-and-twenty
I heard a wise man say,
’Give crowns and pounds and guineas

    But not your heart away;

    Give pearls away and rubies

    But keep your fancy free.’

    But I was one-and-twenty,

    No use to talk to me.

    When I was one-and-twenty
I heard him say again,
’The heart out of the bosom

    Was never given in vain;

    ‘Tis paid with sighs a plenty
And sold for endless rue.’

    And I am two-and-twenty,
And oh, ’tis true, ’tis true.

    Liked by 2 people

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