Give us pleasure in the flowers today

It’s the birthday of English poet Alfred Edward Housman, born in 1859, and American poet Robert Frost, born in 1874. In addition to sharing a birthday, they also share the distinction of having written some exceptionally lovely poems about springtime, and heaven knows we all need a little spring right about now.

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. Houseman (1859-1936)

Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers today;
And give us not to think so far away
As the uncertain harvest; keep us here
All simply in the springing of the year.

Oh, give us pleasure in the orchard white,
Like nothing else by day, like ghosts by night;
And make us happy in the happy bees,
The swarm dilating round the perfect trees.

And make us happy in the darting bird
That suddenly above the bees is heard,
The meteor that thrusts in with needle bill,
And off a blossom in mid air stands still.

For this is love and nothing else is love,
The which it is reserved for God above
To sanctify to what far ends He will,
But which it only needs that we fulfill.

— Robert Frost (1874-1963)

It’s also the anniversary of the arrival in Washington, DC of three thousand Japanese cherry trees — a gift from the mayor of Tokyo, Yukio Ozaki — in 1912. First Lady Helen Taft and Viscountess Chinda, wife of the Japanese ambassador, planted the first two of the trees on the north bank of the Tidal Basin on March 27, 1912. The rest of the trees were eventually planted around the Tidal Basin and in other parts of the city. The first Cherry Blossom Festival was held in 1935, and it became an annual event that draws hundreds of thousands of visitors from around the world.

Many of Tokyo’s cherry trees were destroyed in allied bombing raids during World War II. After the war ended, cuttings were taken from the Japanese cherry trees in Washington and sent to Tokyo to replace the trees that had been lost.

16 Responses to Give us pleasure in the flowers today

  1. Adrienne says:

    I love all my flowering trees. My favorite weeping cherry suffered damage during our heavy snow storm. Lost three lower branches. Sigh

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love flowering trees too. We have several ornamental crab trees that we planted, and they are beautiful; but the most spectacular flowering tree in our yard is a volunteer, and we have no idea what it is. It has rather thorny branches, and in the spring it is thickly covered with pure white blossoms that smell heavenly.

      Like

  2. Reblogged this on Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog and commented:
    A Spring Gift post from BlueBird 🐵

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wonderful poems and breathtaking photos, especially the last one.
    😀 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I love this entire post, Thank you, and Happy Easter!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Reblogged this on ravenhawks' magazine and commented:
    I am a fan of Robert Frost and looking forward to spring thanks for a lovely post about both

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Beautiful and interesting. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Citizen Tom says:

    The first poem reminded of something.

    I live outside D.C. One of the last times my mother came to visit she wanted to see the cherry trees. That was a cold and windy spring. Since she had grown elderly, I put her in a wheel chair and rushed about, afraid she would get chilled.

    The trees were in bloom, however. So she got to see them.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Will S. says:

    Reblogged this on Will S.' Sunny Side Blog.

    Liked by 1 person

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