This week's prompt at Poetry Thursday was to carry a poem around with me. My first instinct after coming back on holiday and finding all the cherry trees in bloom was to carry around A.E. Housman's poem "Loveliest of Trees". In Frances Maye's book, "The Discovery of Poetry", she tells how she was stunned on going to college by the blossoming cherry tree outside her dorm window. She had grown up in the American south and wasn't used to the dramatic season changes of the north. She and a friend copied Housman's poem and tacked it up to the tree. Every day people stopped to read the poem.
Here it is:
Loveliest of Trees
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.
-A.E.Housman, 1859 - 1936
In the end, though, that's not the poem I chose to carry around. There is another poem that both inspires and mystifies me, that I wanted to get to know better. It is a wonderful midlife poem, "Crossroads" written by Joyce Sutphen. There are images in it that are clear to me, and others that puzzle me a little, such as this - "the second half of my life will be black/ to the white rind of the old and fading moon". After carrying it around for a few days I think I am getting to know it better. You can find the poem here. I hope you enjoy it - then you might follow the link at the top and find other wonderful poems from Poetry Thursday participants.