Christina Rossetti: Seasons


Dec. 1866

Oh the cheerful Budding-time!   When thorn-hedges turn to green, When new leaves of elm and lime   Cleave and shed their winter screen; Tender lambs are born and 'baa,'   North wind finds no snow to bring, Vigorous Nature laughs 'Ha, ha,'   In the miracle of spring.
Oh the gorgeous Blossom-days!   When broad flag-flowers drink and blow, In and out in summer-blaze   Dragon-flies flash to and fro; Ashen branches hang out keys,   Oaks put forth the rosy shoot, Wandering herds wax sleek at ease,   Lovely blossoms end in fruit.
Oh the shouting Harvest-weeks!   Mother earth grown fat with sheaves Thrifty gleaner finds who seeks;   Russet-golden pomp of leaves Crowns the woods, to fall at length;   Bracing winds are felt to stir, Ocean gathers up her strength,   Beasts renew their dwindled fur.
Oh the starving Winter-lapse!   Ice-bound, hunger-pinched and dim; Dormant roots recall their saps,   Empty nests show black and grim, Short-lived sunshine gives no heat,   Undue buds are nipped by frost, Snow sets forth a winding-sheet,   And all hope of life seems lost.