April 15, 2012

Spring breaking across rough stone


New life is burgeoning all over the city. In Streatham, weed seeds have germinated in even the least likely of corners, and the sun is charming fresh new growth from gutter, pavement and wall.

As I walked around with my camera yesterday I kept thinking of Larkin's characteristically melancholy poem about the seasons, and what they have to tell us about mortality:

We see the spring breaking across rough stone
And pause to regard the sky;
But we are pledged to work alone,
To serve, bow, nor ask if or why.

Summer shimmers over the fishpond.
We heed it but do not stop
At the may-flies' cloud of mist,
But penetrate to skeleton beyond.


Autumn is the slow movement;
We gather our harvest and thank the lofty dusk.
Although glad for the grain, we are
Aware of the husk.


And winter closes on us like a shroud.
Whether through windows we shall see spring again
Or not, we are sure to hear the rain
Chanting its ancient litany, half-aloud.