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Spring

Spring

When wintry weather’s all a-done,

An’ brooks do sparkle in the zun,

An’ nâisy-buildèn rooks do vlee

Wi’ sticks toward their elem tree;

When birds do zing, an’ we can zee

Upon the boughs the buds o’ spring —

Then I’m as happy as a king,

A-vield wi’ health an’ zunsheen.

Vor then the cowslip’s hangèn flow’r

A-wetted in the zunny show’r,

Do grow wi’ vi’lets, sweet o’ smell,

Bezide the wood-screen’d grægle’s bell;

Where drushes’ aggs, wi’ sky-blue shell,

Do lie in mossy nest among

The thorns, while they do zing their zong

At evenèn in the zunsheen.

An’ God do meäke his win’ to blow

An’ raïn to vall vor high an’ low,

An’ bid his mornèn zun to rise

Vor all alike, an’ groun’ an’ skies

Ha’ colors vor the poor man’s eyes:

An’ in our trials He is near,

To hear our mwoan an’ zee our tear,

An’ turn our clouds to zunsheen.

An’ many times when I do vind

Things all goo wrong, an’ vo’k unkind,

To zee the happy veedèn herds,

An’ hear the zingèn o’ the birds,

Do soothe my sorrow mwore than words;

Vor I do zee that ’tis our sin

Do meäke woone’s soul so dark ’ithin,

When God would gi’e woone zunsheen.

Like Denny Bradbury, who, in her new collection “De-versify” writes poems such as “Gossamer Green” which describes the beauty that can be found in nature and the seasons:

“…Who ordered beauty like this to be?
Who claims the ultimate mystery?
Little eight legs busying time
Eyes ever watchful waiting for rime
Frosty mornings when winter is here
Now to go burrowing Hard Jack is near..”

so too does William Barnes, a native Dorset poet like Denny herself, write poems on themes such as love, natural landscape and regional life. Born in 1801, he wrote over 800 poems, a number of which were in Dorset dialect, such as “The Spring.”  A friend of Thomas Hardy, Alfred Tennyson and Gerard Manley Hopkins, his poems are characterised by a sweetness and tenderness of feeling, his deep insight into humble country life and character and an exquisite feeling for the beauty to be found in the local scenery.

Just as Denny in her poem “Waiting for Blossom (I)” describes the beauty of spring as the blossom begins to push its way into the world:

“… Hawthorn is late this year
February bees come in March
Eyes that long searched for colour
Now see the wonderful hint of blossom
Soon it is everywhere
Brilliant white of blackthorn
Champagne pink of cherry
Dappled rose of apple
All framed by nature’s green
Bringing gladness and smiles…”

Barnes’ refers to how :

“…When birds do zing, an’ we can zee

Upon the boughs the buds o’ spring —

Then I’m as happy as a king,

A-vield wi’ health an’ zunsheen…”

and how, when things go wrong, the sound of the birds can soothe his sorrow far more than any words could:

.. An’ many times when I do vind

Things all goo wrong, an’ vo’k unkind,

To zee the happy veedèn herds,

An’ hear the zingèn o’ the birds,

Do soothe my sorrow mwore than words;…

Both Denny Bradbury and William Barnes also demonstrate a love for folklore in their poetry (literally meaning ‘the learning of the people’).

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