“My Heart is Like a Singing Bird”

[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.]  

A Birthday 

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. 

Christina Rossetti 

blogdelanine.blogspot.com/

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: 

a beautiful orchid that I hope I don't kill

balloons--immediately co-opted by Gabe

it might be my birthday but the balloons belong to the little dude

lemon raspberry cake on my new cakestand!

9 Comments

Filed under gratitude, happiness, love, poetry

9 responses to ““My Heart is Like a Singing Bird”

  1. planejaner

    happy happy day, filled with blessing, indeed.
    jane

    Like

  2. Lana

    Happy Birthday, dear friend!
    May you shed more tears of joy than sadness in this new year!
    Love Lana

    Like

  3. Becca

    That picture of Gabe is SO adorable!

    Like

  4. colleen crowley

    Happy, Birthday Leslie! As Pooh said to Eyore, “Many happy returns of the day!” This is the anniversary of Wordsworth seeing the magnificent daffodils of which he wrote his most well known poem, “I wondered lonely as a cloud.”
    You are not wondering lonely as a cloud and that makes for a good day. I went out and gathered a bunch from the garden today, a bunch of daffodils instead of hazel rods.
    Love, Colleen

    Like

    • LCS

      Thank you, Colleen! I saw that poem on the Writer’s Almanac on my birthday and Wordsworth has become a real inspiration for me over this past year.

      Like

  5. LCS

    What an incredibly thoughtful gift, Jeanine! Thank you so much–it’s lovely!

    Like

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