england in the spring
Dear Lord, you promised Paradise
At the measure of our years.
No grief, no crying, no more pain,
You’ll wipe away our tears.
A city built of purest gold
Its walls a jasper ring,
And we shall be your people, Lord,
And you our God and King –
But can it be more beautiful
than England in the Spring?
I drove today along a road
With hedges clipped and neat
Fluorescent green in light and shade
With daisies at their feet.
And trees, sap rising, swayed their heads
Atop their patterned bark
And shelter gave to verge side flowers
Beneath cathedral arc.
There were snowdrops in the churchyard
And bluebells in the wood,
And daffodils were everywhere –
You’re right, it all “was good” –
So who has need of amethyst
When wisteria’s on the wall?
And hyacinth and foxglove
Steal the colour from opal?
Primroses, joy self-seeded, see
the roses, not so prim,
ignore pale onyx, agate, quartz,
And from carnelians skim
bright red and yellow, flame and pink,
as buds uncurl, rain-pearled.
And there are violets underfoot -
jewels hiding from the world.
Seen from the bridge, the water plays
Like crystal, diamond glass,
And there are mallards in the flow
And swans preen on the grass,
And grown-ups sit and children play
And dogs run to and fro.
Don’t you have spaniels up there, Lord?
May I refuse to go?
There’s a hedgehog in the garden
And it’s fallen in a pot,
And we’ve rescued him and popped him safe
He curled up in protective ball,
Breath prick(er)ly and slow.
If hedgehogs aren’t in Heaven, Lord,
do I really have to go?
And here is blossom, cherry red
And apple, pink and cream,
Forsythia, wood anemone,
Dog roses by the stream,
The dandelion and celandine
glow golden, campion red,
the crocus burgeons, lilac bursts
like stars above my head.
I know you love us, Lord of Life,
Creator God and King,
But it will be so hard to leave
Dear England in the Spring.
(Revelation 21.1-4 and 18-21)