“O, to be in England Now that April’s there”
The words of Robert Browning jumped out at me the other day from the pages of a book I was reading. I was looking for some poetry that would be uplifting, inspiring, or anything warm and fuzzy. Mr. Browning’s “Home Thoughts, From Abroad” (read the full poem at the end) makes me just a little jealous of an English spring. Temperatures in London this week are up in the 60s. We’re not even going to break 40 degrees and a Winter Weather Advisory is in effect for tonight.
O, to be in England. It’s warm, if not exactly fuzzy. Unless foggy counts as fuzzy.
Here, we’re all thinking about our gardens and wondering if we’ll get them in by May (or June!). The recent rains have melted a lot of the snow and there are nice big patches of lawn and garden showing where ten days ago they were covered with at least a foot of the white stuff.
The sidewalks around the houses are ice-free (yippee!) as are the gutters out in front. No more “slip-n-slide”. Or broken bones.
Now that I am thinking about gardening, I’ve decided I won’t take a plot, or what the English call “an allotment”, at the Community Garden this year. Instead I have some packets of herb and veggie seeds for a kitchen garden. I want to step outside my back door, snip a few fresh basil leaves, twist off a perfectly ripe tomato and rush them back inside for a Caprese Salad or plateful/plate full of bruschetta. Fresh baby peas, pencil thin green beans, a variety of herbs, and cherry, grape and Roma tomatoes…everything I want within an arm’s reach. That’s the general idea, anyway. This week the little seeds go into little pots and onto the windowsills. With a little TLC and a lot of luck I should have my little kitchen garden in full swing by June.
No later than August, surely.
O, to be in England. Or at least to have a British accent . . .
Home Thoughts, From Abroad 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
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