“Home Thoughts, From Abroad” by Robert Browning
OH, to be in England
Now that April ’s there
And whoever wakes in England
Sees, some morning, unaware,
That the lowest boughs and the brushwood sheaf
Round the elm-tree bole are in tiny leaf,
While the chaffinch sings on the orchard bough
And after April, when May follows,
And the white-throat builds, and all the swallows –
Hark! where my blossom’d pear-tree in the hedge
Leans to the field and scatters on the clover
Blossoms and dewdrops – at the bent spray’s edge –
That ’s the wise thrush; he sings each song twice over
Lest you should think he never could re-capture
The first fine careless rapture!
And though the fields look rough with hoary dew,
All will be gay when noontide wakes anew
The buttercups, the little children’s dower,
– Far brighter than this gaudy melon-flower!
Robert Browning, 1812 – 1889
About the Poem:
Robert Browning’s My Last Duchess was one of the first poems I posted as a Tuesday Poem—on July 6, 2010 in fact—so it’s been feeling about time for another. So why Home Thoughts, From Abroad—firstly, just because I like it. (We likes it we does, yes-s, preciouss-s-s… ) It also fits with two themes I’ve been running on the blog lately: the first is about celebrating spring, which I’ve been doing chiefly via photos from my garden (wisteria, rhododendron, globe artichokes, and poppies.) The second is poems either yearning for home or returnng home: Rupert Brooke’s The Old Vicaridge, Grantchester and Johanna Aitchison’s is anybody in there? Browning’s Home Thoughts speaks to that same yearning/nostalgia for home and also celebrates spring/early summer, as does Brooke’s poem—in fact there is quite an echo between the two, which was doubtless deliberate on Brooke’s part. At any rate, I hope you will enjoy it as much as I always do—especially now after a holiday enjoying spring sunshine, although it was “blossomed [hawthorne] in the hedge” rather than pear blossom, and wild thyme and Californian poppies down Central Otago and Queenstown Lakes way, rather than clover and buttercups.
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