[Note: Not an in-depth post, but a happy, joyful one in gratitude for all the love I received on my birthday, and for being alive in this good, sweet life. Never perfect, always blessed.]
My heart is like a singing bird
Whose nest is in a water’d shoot;
My heart is like an apple-tree
Whose boughs are bent with thick-set fruit;
My heart is like a rainbow shell
That paddles in a halcyon sea;
My heart is gladder than all these,
Because my love is come to me.
Raise me a daïs of silk and down;
Hang it with vair and purple dyes;
Carve it in doves and pomegranates,
And peacocks with a hundred eyes;
Work it in gold and silver grapes,
In leaves and silver fleurs-de-lys;
Because the birthday of my life
Is come, my love is come to me.
A year or so ago, I decided to teach myself to memorize poems so that I could recite instead of read them when I do workshops, because it’s much more powerful, and it makes the poems more accessible. The first time I did this I was scared to death, because it was awkward and slightly weird, and I was afraid that I was going to look ridiculous. I may have indeed looked ridiculous, but it was also very exciting, like speaking a new language, which in fact it was. Now I love it.
I recited Yeats’ “The Song of Wandering Angus,” when a colleague asked me to come talk to his class about writing, and it was a lot of fun because that poem rhymes. Today’s poem by Christina Rossetti is one of the first ones that I learned, also because it rhymes, which makes it much easier to remember. And it is exquisitely sweet and joyful. I feel happy every single time I say this poem, which I once did while walking with a friend on hard, crunchy winter ground (now that I’ve started I can’t stop myself).
But today it is spring, full-on and bounteous. I promise that if you say this poem out loud a few times, your heart will lift up. I promise. [note: “vair” is a kind of fur that was used to trim cloaks; don’t feel weird saying it.] Give it a try! And let me know how it makes you feel! It doesn’t have to be your birthday in order to celebrate your one sweet and precious life. As always, my heart is glad to know that you are here!
Here’s some of what my birthday looked like: