Poetry of Spring

Poets William Blake and Siegfied Sassoon write about the longing for spring--something we can all relate to at this time of year.

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Photo: National Portrait Gallery, London.

Thomas Phillips painted this portrait of William Blake in 1807.

Before homes were as well heated as ours, the yearning for spring’s coming must have been a more sensorial experience, being felt physically in the bones and in the senses. William Blake (1757-1827) is one of many poets who has written entreatingly “To Spring”:

“Come o’er the eastern hills, and let our winds kiss my perfumed garments;

Let us taste thy morn and evening breath;

Scatter thy pearls upon our lovesick land that mourns for thee.”

A more modern poet, Siegfried Sassoon, wrote a poem in 1935 that he called, “Vigil in Spring”:

“The night air, smelling cold with spring
And the dark twigs of towering trees,
When age remembers youth, we bring
Aliveness back to us in these.
Leaning from windows on the gloom,
We are one with purpling woods and wet
Wild violets of our earth in whom
Aliveness wakes and wonders yet.
In breathed awareness, hushed and cold,
Of growths announcement thrust and thrill.
We lean from lifetime, growing old,
And feel your starlit magic still.”

Sassoon grasps at the coming of spring as if he can share in the rejuvenation of the earth and recapture the aliveness of his youth as the sap rises in the trees. Images of rebirth and new beginnings and the miracle of those first tiny buds are abound in his poetry.

Moya Andrews

, originally from Queensland, Australia, served as Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculties at Indiana University until 2004. In the same year, Moya began hosting Focus on Flowers for WFIU. In addition, Moya does interviews for Profiles, is a member of the Bloomington Hospital Board, and authored Perennials Short and Tall from Indiana University Press.

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