Monday, May 12, 2014

The Ecchoing Green - William Blake

The sun does arise,
And make happy the skies.
The merry bells ring
To welcome the Spring.
The sky-lark and thrush,
The birds of the bus,
Sing louder around,
To the bells' cheerful sound.
While our sports shall be seen
On the Ecchoing Green.

Old John, with white hair
Does laugh away care,
Sitting under the oak,
Among the old folk.
They laugh at our play,
And soon they all say.
'Such, such were the joys.
When we all girls & boys,
In our youth-time were seen,
On the Ecchoing Green.'

Till the little ones weary
No more can be merry
The sun does descend,
And our sports have an end:
Round the laps of their mothers,
Many sisters and brothers,
Like birds in their nest,
Are ready for rest;
And sport no more seen,
On the darkening Green.

A vivid and beautiful imagining of three generations at play on an Ecchoing Green on the cusp of spring and summer, Blake's poem captures what is so enticing about the season.  The sounds of birds, the laughter and hoots of children at play, the quieter, knowing laughter of the elders, enjoying the sight of youths in full bloom (as they once were themselves)!

There's not much meat to the poem if I'm honest, but you don't always want hearty meat.  To continue the food metaphor, this poem is like iced tea on a summer's day; it is refreshing and satisfying without making one's stomach (mind?) all full and bloated.  It's a lovely depiction of a scene easily imagined, and it's ability to put a fond, wistful smile on my face as I look out the window at the breezes stirring the flowers and trees, is its real strength.  Sometimes it's enough for a thing to be only beautiful.

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