A Movie Log

A blog formerly known as Bookishness

By Charles Matthews

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Poem of the Day: A.E. Housman

Loveliest of trees, the cherry now 
Is hung with bloom along the bough, 
And stands about the woodland ride 
Wearing white for Eastertide. 

Now, of my threescore years and ten, 
Twenty will not come again, 
And take from seventy springs a score, 
It only leaves me fifty more. 

And since to look at things in bloom 
Fifty springs are little room, 
About the woodlands I will go 
To see the cherry hung with snow.
--A.E. Housman 
To those of us who are tired of the bogosity of "threescore years and ten" and who may have just seen their seventieth spring, I offer this response by Emily Grosholz to Housman:

Putting On the Ritz 
(For William Jules-Yves) 

After a long, cool winter, 
at last in May a suite 
of warm days wakes the sleepers 

One covered from crown to root 
in thick crepe skirtlets stops 
me, back from hibernation: 

Loveliest of trees, 
big as the Ritz's balletic 
vases charged with bloom.

Not bought, not concocted, 
only improbably real. 
Why am I not surprised? 

My hair is snowed with silver, 
evidence how little room 
fifty springs allow. 

And yet midwinter someone 
burst to life inside me, 
and lately started dancing. 

Just so improbably 
snow hung along the branches 
changed suddenly to flowers. 
--Emily Grosholz