The First Spring Day

by Christina Rossetti

I wonder if the sap is stirring yet,
If wintry birds are dreaming of a mate,
If frozen snowdrops feel as yet the sun
And crocus fires are kindling one by one:
Sing, robin, sing;
I still am sore in doubt concerning Spring.

I wonder if the springtide of this year
Will bring another Spring both lost and dear;
If heart and spirit will find out their Spring,
Or if the world alone will bud and sing:
Sing, hope, to me;
Sweet notes, my hope, soft notes for memory.

The sap will surely quicken soon or late,
The tardiest bird will twitter to a mate;
So Spring must dawn again with warmth and bloom,
Or in this world, or in the world to come:
Sing, voice of Spring,
Till I too blossom and rejoice and sing.

Poetry and Music: Glimmering Girl

I love music, and I love poetry, and I have a particular fondness for classic poetry set to original or, occasionally, traditional or classical music.

A beautiful example of this is the song Glimmering Girl by Irish soprano Méav Ní Mhaolchatha, from her album The Calling. It is set to an original tune by Méav and Craig Leon, but the words belong to a beautiful poem: The Song of Wandering Aengus by William Butler Yeats.

I went out to the hazel wood,
Because a fire was in my head,
And cut and peeled a hazel wand,
And hooked a berry to a thread;
And when white moths were on the wing,
And moth-like stars were flickering out,
I dropped the berry in a stream
And caught a little silver trout.

When I had laid it on the floor
I went to blow the fire a-flame,
But something rustled on the floor,
And someone called me by my name:
It had become a glimmering girl
With apple blossom in her hair
Who called me by my name and ran
And faded through the brightening air.

Though I am old with wandering
Through hollow lands and hilly lands,
I will find out where she has gone,
And kiss her lips and take her hands;
And walk among long dappled grass,
And pluck till time and times are done,
The silver apples of the moon,
The golden apples of the sun.

Freaks of Fashion

a springlike poem by Christina Rossetti.

Such a hubbub in the nests,
Such a bustle and squeak!
Nestlings, guiltless of a feather,
Learning just to speak,
Ask—“And how about the fashions?”
From a cavernous beak.

Perched on bushes, perched on hedges,
Perched on firm hahas,
Perched on anything that holds them,
Gay papas and grave mammas
Teach the knowledge-thirsty nestlings:
Hear the gay papas.

Robin says: “A scarlet waistcoat
Will be all the wear,
Snug, and also cheerful-looking
For the frostiest air,
Comfortable for the chest too
When one comes to plume and pair.”

“Neat gray hoods will be in vogue,”
Quoth a Jackdaw: “Glossy gray,
Setting close, yet setting easy,
Nothing fly-away;
Suited to our misty mornings,
A la negligée.”

Flushing salmon, flushing sulphur,
Haughty Cockatoos
Answer—“Hoods may do for mornings,
But for evenings choose
High head-dresses, curved like crescents,
Such as well-bred persons use.”

“Top-knots, yes; yet more essential
Still, a train or tail,”
Screamed the Peacock: “Gemmed and lustrous
Not too stiff, and not too frail;
Those are best which rearrange as
Fans, and spread or trail.”

Spoke the Swan, entrenched behind
An inimitable neck:
“After all, there’s nothing sweeter
For the lawn or lake
Than simple white, if fine and flaky
And absolutely free from speck.”

“Yellow,” hinted a Canary,
“Warmer, not less distingué.”
“Peach color,” put in a Lory,
“Cannot look outré.”
“All the colors are in fashion,
And are right,” the Parrots say.

“Very well. But do contrast
Tints harmonious,”
Piped a Blackbird, justly proud
Of bill auriferous;
“Half the world may learn a lesson
As to that from us.”

Then a Stork took up the word:
“Aim at height and chic:
Not high heels, they’re common; somehow,
Stilted legs, not thick,
Nor yet thin:” he just glanced downward
And snapped to his beak.

Here a rustling and a whirring,
As of fans outspread,
Hinted that mammas felt anxious
Lest the next thing said
Might prove less than quite judicious,
Or even underbred.

So a mother Auk resumed
The broken thread of speech:
“Let colors sort themselves, my dears,
Yellow, or red, or peach;
The main points, as it seems to me,
We mothers have to teach,

“Are form and texture, elegance,
An air reserved, sublime;
The mode of wearing what we wear
With due regard to month and clime.
But now, let’s all compose ourselves,
It’s almost breakfast-time.”

A hubbub, a squeak, a bustle!
Who cares to chatter or sing
With delightful breakfast coming?
Yet they whisper under the wing:
“So we may wear whatever we like,
Anything, everything!”