Friday, June 1, 2007

Today's poem - From The Vision of Sir Launfal by James Russell Lowell

From The Vision of Sir Launfal
By James Russell Lowell

And what is so rare as a day in June?

Then, if ever, come perfect days;

Then Heaven tries earth if it be in tune,

And over it softly her warm ear lays;

Whether we look or whether we listen,

We hear life murmur or see it glisten;

Every clod feels a stir of might,

An instinct within it that reaches and towers,

And, groping blindly above it for light,

Climbs to a soul in grass and flowers;

The flush of life may well be seen

Thrilling back over hills and valleys;

The cowslip startles in meadows green,

The buttercup catches the sun in its chalice,

And there ’s never a leaf nor a blade too mean

To be some happy creature’s palace;

The little bird sits at his door in the sun,

A tilt like a blossom among the leaves,

And lets his illumined being o’errun

With the deluge of summer it receives;

His mate feels the eggs beneath her wings,

And the heart in her dumb breast flutters and sings;

He sings to the wide world and she to her nest,—

In the nice ear of Nature which song is the best?

Now is the high-tide of the year,

And whatever of life hath ebbed away

Comes flooding back with a ripply cheer,

Into every bare inlet and creek and bay;

Now the heart is so full that a drop overfills it,

We are happy now because God wills it;

No matter how barren the past may have been,

’T is enough for us now that the leaves are green;

We sit in the warm shade and feel right well

How the sap creeps up and the blossoms swell;

We may shut our eyes, but we cannot help knowing

That skies are clear and grass is growing;

The breeze comes whispering in our ear,

That dandelions are blossoming near,

That maize has sprouted, that streams are flowing,

That the river is bluer than the sky,

That the robin is plastering his house hard by;

And if the breeze kept the good news back,

For other couriers we should not lack;

We could guess it all by yon heifer’s lowing,—

And hark! how clear bold chanticleer,

Warmed with the new wine of the year,

Tells all in his lusty crowing!


When my children were little, I used to read this to them each June 1st outside on the terrace.

Now the heart is so full that a drop overfills it
Isn't that an amazing line?

and isn't this wonderful?
He sings to the wide world and she to her nest,—
In the nice ear of Nature which song is the best?

2 comments:

  1. Nan, What a lovely poem. Even lovelier is the fact that you read it to your children each June 1st. I wonder if they think of it as June begins each year? I love the small simple traditions that tie a family together.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I recently asked them both and they do remember!

    ReplyDelete

Now that I am a grandmother, it seems that I am often late in replying to your most-appreciated comments. But I read them as soon as they come in, and I will write as soon as I can. Please do come back and check. I love these blogging conversations. A little addendum - I've just spent quite a long time catching up with dear notes you left me months ago!! I do hope you can get back to read them. And I'm trying to be much more prompt now!

Also, you may comment on any post, no matter how old, and I will see it.