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    raindrops on leafless twigs

    Poems for Early Spring

    Philip Larkin and William Blake

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    • Dan Grubbs

      The contrast in rhythm of the two poems here is interesting. The rhymed couplets of Blake feel as if I'm hopping from one stone to another. While Larkin's scheme feel more like a little girl's skipping across the meadow where every other foot lands. "Wretched width of cold"is a phrase that makes me believe that Larkin felt a discomfort in winter and was impatient for Spring. It seems to speak that he feels that winter has lasted too long.

    First Sight
    by Philip Larkin

    Lambs that learn to walk in snow
    When their bleating clouds the air
    Meet a vast unwelcome, know
    Nothing but a sunless glare.
    Newly stumbling to and fro
    All they find, outside the fold,
    Is a wretched width of cold.

    As they wait beside the ewe,
    Her fleeces wetly caked, there lies
    Hidden round them, waiting too,
    Earth’s immeasurable surprise.
    They could not grasp it if they knew,
    What so soon will wake and grow
    Utterly unlike the snow.

     

    The Echoing Green
    by William Blake

    The sun does arise,
    And make happy the skies.
    The merry bells ring
    To welcome the spring.
    The skylark and thrush,
    The birds of the bush,
    Sing louder around,
    To the bells’ cheerful sound,
    While our sports shall be seen
    On the echoing green.

    Old John with white hair
    Does laugh away care,
    Sitting under the oak,
    Among the old folk.
    They laugh at our play,
    And soon they all say:
    ‘Such, such were the joys
    When we all, girls and boys,
    In our youth-time were seen
    On the echoing green.’

    Till the little ones weary
    No more can be merry;
    The sun does descend,
    And our sports have an end.
    Round the laps of their mother
    Many sisters and brothers,
    Like birds in their nest,
    Are ready for rest;
    And sport no more seen
    On the darkening green.

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