Loveliest of Trees

There's a beautiful cherry tree outside our office that seems to have held back its modesty until this week, and now it's making up for lost time with a blowsy candyfloss explosion of coral-pink blossom. Apparently this year the blossom has been better than in recent years due to the combination of weather since last autumn. The tree outside is testament to this news, as it looks particularly lovely today, picked out in sharp contrast against the cerulean sky.

One of the poems I had to learn at school was 'Loveliest of trees' by AE Housman, taken from his famous 'Shropshire Lad' cycle. It didn't mean much to me at school, seeing as I was of course immortal at that age. I remember that I used to amuse myself by reciting it in the voice of Michael Caine. It means a bit more to me now, especially as I live near the 'blue remembered hills' that Housman wrote about so eloquently. Interestingly, Housman wrote most of the Shropshire Lad poems whilst living in London, before he had ever visited those Shropshire hills (about thirty miles from his home), which he presented in an idealised pastoral light, as his 'land of lost content'. It's not a particularly good poem, but the words have stuck very strongly in my mind since the age of 10, and I still know it word perfect.

Loveliest of trees, the cherry now

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.


Gadjo Dilo said...

Nice - my father used to quote from that poem. It always makes me wonder to think a book of Housman's poems was the preferred literature in the average soldier's knapsack in WWI; nowadays it's probably Razzle.

Gaw said...

Lovely post. Have you noticed how a lot of things are blooming all at once this year, presumably because of the late spring? Daffs as well as blossoms are still going strong even as the bluebells flower.

worm said...

yep the bluebells are just starting here Gaw - can't belive how the daffs are out at the same time!!!