A Saraband for Spring

January 03, 2021

Spring, the sweet spring, is the year’s pleasant king”

Now the winter it is past

And the spring has come at last...”

The mighty axletree on which the earth’s wheel turns

Has passed its gate and here the Old Year absents

And in The New, a lightsome thing; a roistering rake!

The annals of December have been told out and the dark

Has been retired, their job is done, gone that long shortest day

Now turned around the ground is growing, through to end of May

And into June, the moving moon has chased the dark away

Has battled off the nights; are now allowed come and play

The amorous blackbirds, earth strown daffodils

The brown tops where wasthin copse now no longer wrap the hills

Returning green, as never has been, comes in with bracelets on

That pillory and stocks installed by Old Man Winter

His season that went out with icicles and frosty rime

Had thrust the deep green holly from the black hard ground:

His heavy coat has hung

Has now put off, for coming is the straight, bright-gazed sun

Yes she that runs her race, from Southern continents has come

Again - and now the early rain has called on sprouting flowers

O, let them come, and bees as well, and beetles, caterpillars

Mayflies and moths and subterranean moles

Badgers and foxes, butterflies and slippery toads

Ash trees and chestnuts put on all their sunshine green

Become the very brashest dashing they have ever been

Bring they their branches, avalanches, Legion sprouting forth

That of this Primavera claim they half its golden worth

In ravishment to eyeballs idle thinking on their sheens

As earholes essay listening, picking out how birdies preen

To air éclair and lyric conversations, as the grey-fly bums

And thickets smack and crack, go snap in rusty undergrowths

Where a pretty girl and spotty boy go at it mouth and mouth

Away from mention’s view, and education, both

The rising of the saps, the flowing tides, the ringing gnats

(No hiding from these hover-over infiltrators

Whose loud brushed cloud of instant irritation

Inhibits picnics rousing giant exclamation)

Such idyll drolls recall the balmy days - another age agone

Before steam was antique, and connectivity begun

When flowered fields were rubbish tips with turfs made-over

And hedges in a rainstorm were our only leaky cover

And fishermen sat down along the banks of muddy Lea

As barges came on down and scrunched those muddy banks away

Awaiting tiddlers; gudgeon, roaches, and a cup of tea

An afternoon in halcyon Arcadia a la Haringey

And we would traipse the whole day through knee deep in arrow grass

That millennia of ages - our best six weeksout of class

When a heady sun was out and stout alert and proudly shining

Right up to closing dews, from very first thing in the morning

We never ate, it seems, from breakfast into supper

Betweentimes entered no baked beans, no piece or pasty proper

We were never hungry, not until the sundown’s clamour claimed us

Had sent us to our homes and recognised our gnawing haviors

Our hunger ruddily, as if a flea-bite, stung a realisation

The tables rendered bare as in an instant all gets eaten

A board of ordinary bread and jam, a beaker of tart squash

’Twas never a celebration

But never noted anything but that everything was grateful

Packloaded in the stomach, now the hours would settle over

The clock, its merry tock, went, spent, towards a drowsy sea

Of shadows, memories, a surge of satisfaction pondered

Wan easing minds, in other times, draw down to dreamless sleep