Saturday, April 22, 2017

Oh, to be in England
Now that Earth Day's Here

I am slowly but surely closing in on my goal to visit England in every month of the year. Back in 2013, I checked off May and October; in 2015, November; and most recently April, when we were there just in time to see the Easter flowers (above and below) blooming in Ron and Rosanne's front garden (here's the back yard).

That just leaves June and September . . .

Home Thoughts, from Abroad

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
In England—now!

And after April, when May follows,
And the whitethroat builds, and all the swallows!
Hark, where my blossomed 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 recapture
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)

I love the story -- as described in Victoria Magazine --
behind the tea set and travel case
donated to Baylor University
by American art critic Jean Sherwood:

"While traveling through Italy by train in 1889, she made tea from the set for an elderly stranger. When the man asked her who was considered the greatest American woman poet, she replied, 'I don't know, but we consider Elizabeth Barrett Browning the greatest woman poet.' Quietly the man went to the window, leaving Sherwood to wonder what had upset him. After regaining his composure he turned and said, 'She was my wife.'"

"How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach . . .
I love thee to the level of every day’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for right.
I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints
. I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life . . ."

Previous Earth Day Posts

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