From Wear To Thames

A poem by John Frederick Freeman

Is it because Spring now is come
That my heart leaps in its bed of dust?
Is it with sorrow or strange pleasure
To watch the green time's gathering treasure?

Or is there some too sharp distaste
In all this quivering green and gold?
Something that makes bare boughs yet barer,
And the eye's pure delight the rarer?

Not that the new found Spring is sour....
The blossom swings on the cherry branch,
From Wear to Thames I have seen this greenness
Cover the six-months-winter meanness.

And windflowers and yellow gillyflowers
Pierce the astonished earth with light:
And most-loved wallflower's bloody petal
Shakes over that long frosty battle.

But this leaping, sinking heart
Finds question in grass, bud and blossom--
Too deeply into the earth is prying,
Too sharply hears old voices crying.

There is in blossom, bud and grass
Something that's neither sorrow nor joy,
Something that sighs like autumn sighing,
And in each living thing is dying.

It is myself that whispers and stares
Down from the hill and in the wood,
And in the untended orchard's shining
Sees the light through thin leaves declining.

Let me forget what I have been
What I can never be again.
Let me forget my winter's meanness
In this fond, flushing world of greenness.

Let me forget the world that is
The changing image of my thought,
Nor see in thicket and hedge and meadow
Myself, a grave perplexèd shadow;

And O, forget that gloomy shade
That breathes his cloud 'twixt earth and light ...
All, all forget but sun and blossom,
And the bird that bears heaven in his bosom.

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