Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Oh to be in England Now That April's There

April in the Botanical Gardens, Durham

It's glorious weather here. Think we should make the most of it, this might be our summer!

Seems like this poem expresses how I feel about spring here in England. It just suddenly appears from nowhere and to be truthful although I love going on holiday, I wouldn't want to be anywhere else at the moment.

Home Thoughts, From Abroad

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.

Robert Browning

When I read the poem this morning I remembered this song. It's another of my favourites, written and sung by Clifford T Ward.

He wrote it for his wife in 1973 when he was touring the American Army bases in France and based it on the Browning poem, Home Thoughts From Abroad.

He was a wonderful singer songwriter but suffered from multiple sclerosis and sadly he died in 2001.

Nice one Clifford!

Home Thoughts from Abroad - Clifford T Ward


  1. Love the poetry :)
    So glad you're enjoying a glorious springtime.
    We're feeling more like summertime here with very high temps.

  2. Hi Winifred,

    Love Brownings poem, and the lovely shot of the Botanical Gardens!

    April is my favorite spring month as well. May is beautiful, too, but by May everything is lush and the temperatures already get hot. At least here in the Ozarks.

    Enjoy April in England!



  3. Oregon's Willamette Valley isn't bad either.

  4. What a beautiful photo Winifred! Gorgeous! 8-)
    We are just at the start of Spring, thus not much more happening that the odd little bit of growth... Trees aren't even budding yet...
    Enjoy the beauty! 8-)

  5. Hi Winifred, I hope you don't mind me stopping by. It's nice to know some people still appreciate good poetry. Of course now I'm curious though, what are you trying, honestly? ;-)

  6. I'm going to get a plane ticket right now. It's freezing and raining here in Michigan. Blech. I want what's in that poem.

  7. beautiful poetry- the photo at the top is amazing

  8. Dear Winifred ~~ I am so glad that you are warm and hope it lasts and makes you happy. I had an English lady teacher about 60 years ago, and she read this poem "Oh, to be in England, Now that April's here" often, I guess she was homesick.
    I like your idea of a perfect day,
    "Sunny with a little breeze" and would add to it. Plenty of rain over
    night. Glad you enjoy the funnies.
    Take care, Love, Merle.

  9. There is always something special about a poem of is so lovely to be visiting you here again after what feels like all four seasons ago!


  10. Great post. I love Bobbie Browning. We are not quite as far into spring as you, but we're coming along. Rain today, mixed with some sunshine. The best of both worlds.

    ~hippo hugs~

  11. I left England when I was 25 and I'm now 78, but that poem still makes me yearn. And do you remember a song called 'Can't help singing'? It's hardly ever played now but that was my Spring song as a girl. I could feel the sap rising whenever it was played. As for Robert Browning .....he makes me want to stop writing poetry altogether!

  12. Another comment. I couldn't resist it! Had to reprint your blog on mine, giving you credit, of course! If you don't want it there I'll take it off immediately.

  13. Beautiful poetry and beautiful picture! Looks like South Carolina with the trees in bloom so beautifully! The azaleas are gorgeous this time of year. I love Spring the best of all....everything comes alive and blossoms out again! I can see why you love your Springtime there, too!

    ((( HUGS )))

  14. Your picture is very pretty Winifred. Our weather is crazy. Cold one day and hot the next.

  15. Thanks for your lovely comments.
    My biggest fear is that this is actually the summer. It's better than I remember summer last year and the previous one.

    Snowbrush - I have to say my geography is improving greatly since I started blogging. I had to check out your suggestion and the Willamette Valley looks beautiful. Tulips, cherry trees and wine! In fact the whole of Oregon looks wonderful.

    Bogey - I'm trying to stop procrastinating. It's an uphill climb. I used to use the excuse I didn't have time because I was working. Well that one's gone now I've retired.

    Rudee - I'll get the tickets for the Botanical Gardens. The cherry trees are still in flower then we'll pop over to the cathedral. It will blow your mind. It got Bill Bryson's vote as the best cathedral on the planet. It got mine nearly 60 years ago. I must do a posting on it but they don't let you take pictures inside. Spoilsports.

    Renie - It never gets that hot here! Mid seventies is hot for us. Don't think the temperature has ever been up to 80 in the North East. It does in the South, on occasions!

    Myra - I do hope you get some greenery soon. It just lifts your spirits so much doesn't it.

    Merle - I believe she would have been homesick reading that poem. I get similar feelings when I hear Elgar's Nimrod - Enigma Variations even at home! It's very English but it's also reminiscent of a time gone by. Makes me fill up.

    Rinkly - No porblems with using my photo. I bet you do still feel for England. Funny how we take it for granted and it's when we go away we think about it. Not sure how I would cope but I keep imaginingliving somewhere warm in winter now.

    Nancy - I can't grow azaleas. They die on me. Must be the soil. One of the bestpalces for rhododendrons here is Cragside in Northumberland, they're fantastic on June. Must go there again.

    Hope everyone else gets some good weather soon. We deserve it!


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