“Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers to-day;
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 fulfil.”
Robert Frost, an American poet (1874-1963) is highly regarded for his realistic depictions of rural life. His poems frequently used settings from rural life in New England in the early twentieth century, just as Denny Bradbury does in her new collection ‘De-versify’ where she draws often on her love for the Dorset countryside such as in her poems “Waiting for Blossom”, “Lost Meadows” and “Kingcup and Friends” where she talks about the beauty of nature, often potentially threatened by the intrusion of man:
“… .. We all have been guilty by absence, design or merely a shake of
The head in resigned
Acceptance of what the men in dark suits were planning to plant next to
Be it wind farm or pylon or merely a road we sighed and we tutted
but never did goad
Now as we look with fresh eyes do we see the reinstatement of the humble and
‘ Lost Meadows.’
Like Denny, Robert Frost often drew on the rural life he wrote about to examine complex social and philosophical themes. Frost was one of the most popular and critically respected American poets of his generation and was honoured frequently during his lifetime, receiving four Pulitzer prizes for poetry.
His poem “A Prayer In Spring” begins illustrating to the reader a reminder that the present contains a bounty of wonderful gifts, regardless of what the harvest itself may bring. That it is a time of rebirth and fertility and that we should hold onto the here and now for as long as possible.
Denny Bradbury tells of something similar in the last verses of both her poems “Kingcup and Friends” and “Gossamer Green” where she talks of Nature’s cycle:
“…Meadowsweet silver birch chestnuts red
Lavender provender hops for your bed
Room for all there’s room for more
Love and leave
Nature will restore!” ~ ‘Kingcup and Friends’
“…Gossamer napkins scattered and left
Summer no longer leaving bereft
All those who revel in warmth of the sun
Dying for living the cycle is spun.” ~ Gossamer Green
“A Prayer In Spring” goes on to illustrate numerous other aspects of beauty that can be found in nature – a field of white flowers, the bees buzzing about the daily tasks in an orderly fashion, and the “perfect trees” that exist in this idyllic setting. Even the bird, appearing unexpectedly and heading straight for the blossom does not disturb the peaceful scene but adds to it.
Through his poem, Frost uses the metaphors of different creatures within the beauty of nature to illustrate the love of God – his message is twofold, celebrating the perfect universe and showing that we too can reach God through the tools he gives us in life.