Lightly Turned Fancy

When Spring arrives every year, one finds there’s a great deal of poetic utterance devoted to one or another aspect of the season. There is, in the season, a wealth of subjects on which the poet might reflect and celebrate. I’ve read poems (old and new) that extol the freshly-blossoming flowers … as well as freshly-blossoming love.spring-season

In his poem Locksley Hall, Alfred, Lord Tennyson famously noted:

In the Spring a fuller crimson comes upon the robin’s breast;
In the Spring the wanton lapwing gets himself another crest;

In the Spring a livelier iris changes on the burnish’d dove;
In the Spring a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love.

In truth, only the fourth line above could be described with the “famously” adverb. That particular line is often quoted. Not being a man, I can’t speak specifically to Tennyson’s observation, except to say it is a lovely line in a much longer, rich and emotional work produced with 97 rhyming couplets.

I enjoy the ebb and flow of Locksley Hall and think it deserves deeper study now, almost two hundred years after its initial writing. However, I find another poem, this one simply titled Spring, by Edna St. Vincent Millay, is more endearing … to me, anyway … because of its counterintuitive melancholy. This is no easy celebration of Spring but more of a saucy challenge to the season.

Vincent begins the poem by addressing April directly. The final line is striking. Having thrown down the gauntlet (one might say) to April / Spring, she asserts April “Comes like an idiot, babbling and strewing flowers.” The tone is unexpectedly downcast but an interesting departure from the praise and adulation usually accorded Spring (or April).

In general, I’m not a nature-oriented poet. But given my enthusiasm to have Spring finally arrive this year (though today would not be a good example since there’s been a fall-like chill in the air), I couldn’t help allowing my versification to mentally wander outdoors. Also, I came across a website that mentions – I was shocked to discover – there are only 67 days (and a decreasing number of hours / minutes / seconds) left in the official tally before Summer is upon us!

The sonnet below is the result of my mental meanderings and an expression of my eagerness to greet Spring once-and-for-all! I suppose if I could chirp, I’d be echoing the birds’ apparent eagerness.

Where we live, the birds congregate all around the house. Though I’ve tried to discourage them from nesting in, upon or close to the house, they’re difficult to dissuade. (One managed to enter the space between the downspouts and fascia last week and I could hear it skittering across the ceiling boards above me. I’m afraid it didn’t find its way back out.)

Here’s an April / Spring sonnet to celebrate the season … and to warmly welcome the babbling and strewing flowers of which Vincent spoke.


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