Spring the Cheat
February 10, 1882
Today is the birthday of the English writer Winifred Mary Letts. Gardeners love her quote on spring:
That God once loved a garden, we learn in Holy writ.
And seeing gardens in the Spring, I well can credit it.
Winifred also wrote a poem about spring called "Spring the Cheat." This is one of many poems Winifred wrote about the Great War - WWI.
Winifred wrote "Spring the Cheat" to remind people that they were not alone in their suffering. And her poem illustrates how pointless existence seems during wartime. And Winifred contrasts the season of rebirth - spring (which is cyclical), with a war-induced season of loss (which usually spreads across many seasons and is wildly at odds during spring).
Luminous evenings when the blackbird sways
Upon the rose and tunes his flageolet,
A sea of bluebells down the woodland ways, —
O exquisite spring, all this — and yet — and yet —
Kinder to me the bleak face of December
Who gives no cheating hopes, but says — "Remember."
Another poem that will thrill gardeners is Winifred’s delightful verse that was written to honor the birth of a dear friend’s baby (Peter John Dobbs). Winifred's poem is called To a May Baby, and I've often thought it would be perfect for a spring baby shower invitation.
To come at Tulip Time how wise!
Perhaps you will not now regret
The shining gardens, jewel set,
Of your first home in Paradise
Because you might not quite forget.
To come at Swallow Time how wise!
When every bird has built a nest;
Now you may fold your wings and rest
And watch this new world with surprise;
For whom the earth has donned her best.
To come when life is gay how wise!
With lambs and every happy thing
That frisks on foot or sports on wing,
With daisies and with butterflies,
Had nought so sweet as you to bring.