Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Sunday morning, late February
I’ve been fixing wires on the side fence, the one which best catches the sun, to support the climbing plants I bought last year: jasmine, honeysuckle, clematis—and in pride of place, a climbing hydrangea. Below in the narrow border are some random spring bulbs, three hellebores and a camellia, which I feed every morning with coffee-grounds to counteract the alkaline effect of chalky soil. I’m also nurturing a myrtle, twice-cloned from Lady Tennyson’s bridal wreath, as worn on 13th June 1850.
I cannot find a picture of Emily Sellwood on her wedding-day with myrtle in her hair, so I shall end instead with Tennyson’s poem ‘Wedding Morning’, looking back on their days of wooing, and invoking the aid of the rising Sun to lighten his eyes, heart and blood.
Light, so low upon earth,
You send a flash to the sun.
Here is the golden close of love,
All my wooing is done.
Oh, the woods and the meadows,
Woods where we hid from the wet,
Stiles where we stay’d to be kind,
Meadows in which we met!
Light, so low in the vale
You flash and lighten afar,
For this is the golden morning of love,
And you are his morning star.
Flash, I am coming, I come,
By meadow and stile and wood,
Oh, lighten into my eyes and heart,
Into my heart and my blood!
Heart, are you great enough
For a love that never tires?
O heart, are you great enough for love?
I have heard of thorns and briers.
Over the thorns and briers,
Over the meadows and stiles,
Over the world to the end of it
Flash for a million miles.
I catch a little flash of that light reflected in a bead of golden resin, oozing from the fence-timber, near the myrtle-bush, its most tender leaves scarred and shrivelled by frost. Note to self: make for it a plastic tent next year, on a frame of spiral wire, to spare it from winter’s peril. Living things are subject to birth, maiming and death, but literature is immortal. I show both, side by side, hoping my myrtle in this half-shaded backyard may some day bloom as splendidly as in the picture. As for my love, it blooms already. I have leapt over the thorns and briers. Surely, my heart is great enough for love.
Photo: Alfred Lord Tennyson with wife and sons, about 1862, from Wikipedia.
Posted by Vincent at 3:14 pm