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‘When lilacs last in the dooryard bloom’d’

A week or two ago my dear friend Deb sent me this message and link:

First verse of Walt Whitman’s poem, as recited by a very old soul: http://whitmanalabama.com/verses/1. Do check it out: it’s wonderful.

Deb didn’t say what the poem was and it turned out to ‘Song of Myself.’ But the poem by Whitman that had sprung immediately to my mind was ‘When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d.’

When lilacs last in the dooryard bloom’d,
And the great star early droop’d in the western sky in the night,
I mourn’d, and yet shall mourn with ever-returning spring.

Ever-returning spring, trinity sure to me you bring,
Lilac blooming perennial and drooping star in the west,
And thought of him I love.

It was many, many years since I’d read this – perhaps not since I was an undergraduate – and I was glad to be reminded of it. There is a lilac bush down our lane that I rejoice to see every year. These poignant lines now speak to my condition.

The lilacs are not out yet, so here are some tulips and hyacinths set against the blossom on my neighbour’s plum tree. Aren’t they glorious?

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