Christina Rossetti: Poems


(Macmillan's Magazine, Dec. 1866.)

Oh the cheerful Budding-time!

When thorn-hedges turn to green,

When new leaves of elm and lime

Cleave and shed their winter screen;

Tender lambs are born and 'baa,'

North wind finds no snow to bring,

Vigorous Nature laughs 'Ha, ha,'

In the miracle of spring.

Oh the gorgeous Blossom-days!

When broad flag-flowers drink and blow, 10

In and out in summer-blaze

Dragon-flies flash to and fro;

Ashen branches hang out keys,

Oaks put forth the rosy shoot,

Wandering herds wax sleek at ease,

Lovely blossoms end in fruit.

Oh the shouting Harvest-weeks!

Mother earth grown fat with sheaves

Thrifty gleaner finds who seeks;

Russet-golden pomp of leaves 20

Crowns the woods, to fall at length;

Bracing winds are felt to stir,

Ocean gathers up her strength,

Beasts renew their dwindled fur.

Oh the starving Winter-lapse!

Ice-bound, hunger-pinched and dim;

Dormant roots recall their saps,

Empty nests show black and grim,

Short-lived sunshine gives no heat,

Undue buds are nipped by frost, 30

Snow sets forth a winding-sheet,

And all hope of life seems lost.