Poems by heart

A corner of our York back yard on Easter 2012

A corner of our York back yard on Easter 2012

“It is spring again.  The earth is like a child that knows poems by heart.”
Rainer Maria Rilke

I don’t consider myself a poet, but I do like to write poetry as well as read it.  When writing poems I have to curtail the number of words I use so that every single one has an impact.  Of course it’s a good idea to do this with all writing, but it’s especially important with poetry, wherein thoughts and emotions arrive in a reader’s mind in concentrated form leaving images that linger.

Rilke’s simile is an apt one, I think.  Spring begins with a bare landscape and sparse visible assets.  When it is ready, it bursts into blooms that decorate the landscape with vivid color, touching our spirits and renewing our hope.  Spring knows its verses by heart, and speaks them (even sings them) to a delighted audience weary of winter and longing for youthful energy.  May its winsome performance bring joy to your heart today!


  1. Yes, Julia. The key phrase to me is “When it is ready”. I cannot remember a year when the signs of Spring were later appearing. The Redbuds were one of The Woods first harbingers; but just yesterday those first purple buds began to burst forth! (I had begun to fear they had died.) It’s Time! Fantastic!!

    • Eric, I agree; I don’t remember any time spring was so late in coming, at least in the south. In Ohio we once had snow on Easter, but that was Ohio. I keep watching the cherry blossom trees; they have budded but no bloomed yet. At least my favorites, the daffodils, have been out in force for some time now. This winter was long for us, literally and figuratively!

      • Julia, i know you are right; and it hurts to my heart to think of your Winter 2012-13. But, as you say – It’s Spring! Let us rejoice and be glad.

        • As George Harrison wrote, “Here comes the sun.” (The first Beatles’ song I really loved. The lyrics will probably show up here eventually! Maybe sooner rather than later!)

  2. What a colourful picture! Spring must be a great relief for you. Let the colours fill you with bliss.

    • Thanks, Bindu! The azaleas and dogwood trees are not yet in bloom, but they will be soon. Spring is always a great relief, and never more than this year. Thanks for visiting, hope you and your family are doing well!

  3. Thank You, BeLove Julia – sharing: Garden of Hope: New garden paths are before me; which yet i do not see. My Hope i can not measure; for my path to the Tree is free. [was trying to express hope – didn’t think i could do so w few words – then came : Hope Like a River Flows. agape Love & prayers to you & yours

    • Thank you, Kate! Spring is a great season in the Garden of Hope. I appreciate your visits here and especially your prayers.

  4. Ellis Anderson

    Hi Julia! The FIRST thing that popped into my mind when I saw the title of your post was a Shel Silverstein poem I learned by heart over 40 years ago. It has nothing whatsoever to do with spring, but it never fails to make me laugh out loud. Hope it has the same effect on you this morning!

    As I spit from the twenty-sixth floor
    And it floats on the breeze to the ground
    Does it fall upon hats,
    Or white kitty-cats,
    or heads, with a pitty-pat sound?

    I used to think life was a bore,
    but I don’t feel that way anymore,
    as I count up the hits,
    as I smile as I sit,
    as I spit from the twenty-sixth floor.

    • Ellis, this is surprisingly relevant to my early childhood – once when some friends and I were at Six Flags over Georgia (without my parents, of course; another girl’s mom took us) some of us were stopped by a policeman who saw us spitting out of the skylift – over the lake, not on people, but still enough to get us threatened with removal from the park. I was mortified. I won’t say who came up with the idea 🙂 but that was my first and only time to get “arrested.” Shel Silverstein is a great poet to learn by heart, though. Kids love him and I have a hunch he will always be popular!

      • Carolyn

        I love this time of the year when things are coming to life again. Memphis is beautiful with all the flowers and trees blooming. I was with my doctor this morning and my markers are still the same so he decided to do a CT scan, everything is okay. I see him again in three months. God is great. You all are still in my prayers and I hope Jeff is feeling some better. Take care and love to all.

        • Carolyn, this is wonderful news! We will keep praying for you. We have such fond memories of the springtime in Memphis, especially of going to Memphis in May and sitting on the riverbank hearing the symphony as it floats down the river on a barge. (I hope they still do that!) I never hear the song “Old Man River” without remembering how special it was to hear it sung while watching it “rolling along.” Thanks so much for letting us know your good news! Jeff is feeling much better; I’ll try to send you a longer update soon.

  5. Gorgeous photograph! Spring is off to a slow start where I am (38 degrees F today), but I’m noticing little bits of life here and there–a daffodil, some crocuses, a robin…but so far no big “burst” like you mentioned. Hopefully soon. I love the line you quoted. So very true. 🙂

    • Kate, it’s chilly and in the 40’s here today, but the sun is out and I just know the blooms will have to appear soon! Meanwhile I’m “making do” with some forced daffodils and fragrant hyacinths indoors, a gift from a wonderfully generous friend, so my kitchen is full of the smell of flowers. I wish you a beautiful springtime! Thanks for being here.

  6. Fab 🙂

    • Thanks Harshit! How are you doing? I need to get back over to your blog and see if you have written anything new since last time I was there. I appreciate your visits here.

      • I am fine Julia. Quite busy these days as m writing my final year university Xams. How are you?
        Is there anything new to update me, How is your spouse’s health. I am sure he’ll overcome.
        take care,
        Harshit Chauhan

        • Hi Harshit, I am so sorry to be so late responding to this comment – it somehow got caught in my spam filter and I only just now saw it. Hope you are finished with exams by now and come through with flying colors! We did get some good news recently; they did follow up MRI and CT scan on Jeff and found that his tumors had decreased significantly which is a real answer to prayers. Continuing the chemo and probably going to be having radiation and one or two surgeries in the next few months. We are so happy he has had a positive response to the chemo. Thanks for asking. I’ll try to check my spam filter more often but hopefully it knows now that messages from you are not spam! I appreciate your visits here.

          • Glad to here the good news 🙂
            And yes it is all coz of your prayers and efforts.
            Keep the spirit of Jeff zenith high…and don’t forget (I’m sure you’ll not) the role of invisible forces such as God, nature, luck etc.
            They play a massive role.
            My university exams are not yet over. I Plan to fight a Government Competitive Exam and for the same I may go to New Delhi for Coaching. Rest is fine,
            Take care,
            Harshit Chauhan

            • Thanks so much, Harshit! I appreciate your visits here, especially with the busyness of your schedule during exams. Good luck and thanks for keeping me updated!

  7. Kathy

    Beautiful trees. I love your yard!

    • Thanks, Kathy! I love it too :-). Hope you and your family are doing well.

  8. MaryAnn

    Okay! Dear Lady, Where is a poem written by YOU?
    I await its arrival with giddy joy! MaryAnn

    • Mary Ann, I have lots of them but don’t know if I should inflict them on people via this site. 🙂 Thanks for asking, though. Maybe I’ll email you one or two sometime. Thanks for being here!

    • MaryAnn, just to let you know from her own unbiased sister, Julia is a wonderful poet! I hope she will send you some of her work.

      • Carla, you are possibly the most biased person on earth where I am concerned, but I love you for it! You and Mary Ann are like my cheerleading section. We used to have a preacher (in Hawaii) who would talk about the “heavenly grandstands” by which I supposed he meant those who are in heaven cheering us on as we face various challenges. For me it’s a comfort to have people here on earth doing just that. We all need to be supportive of each other and I appreciate it so much that you are.

  9. Sheila

    Julia, your flowering,spring photo is so beautiful. It means so much to know that through our communication here,we have come to share not only our concerns but our prayers for each other and this time in our lives. Thank you for the blessing that you are to me everyday. Always with a prayer, Sheia

    • Thanks Sheila, I have had you and Bill on my mind a lot lately; praying that all is well with you, and he is getting better. I really appreciate your visits here and knowing that you are praying for us also. We’ll keep it going!

      • Sheila

        You’re right! It seems we’ve come to know each other here. Southern belles can spot each other. I bet you wear pearls,too! I’m smiling….

        • Why, how on earth did you know? 🙂 I told Jeff recently I am going to have to channel my inner Scarlett O’Hara and keep telling myself I’ll think about all the bad stuff tomorrow! I seriously do wear pearls with some of my dressier clothes; I find they are very flattering to the face! Thanks for bringing a smile to my face tonight.

  10. Mary Ann – I’ll post a poem here, not being as reticent as Julia. It’s entitled “Fleas”:
    Adam had ’em

    • Hey, maybe I will put some of my poems on here…:-)

      • Yes, Julia – oblige us. If you do, i will tell you about an airline pilot pouring water forty-some-odd stories down on New Yorkers.

        • Do you remember the little ditty I wrote about flying after that wonderful, practically perfect flight I took on a NW DC-9 flight a few years back? I’m afraid some would deem it offensive. Maybe another time.

  11. Your York back yard looks exactly like what we are looking for, beautiful! Are those Azalea’s blooming back there? As you know, I like to write the odd ditty, but I’m afraid it’s more akin to Dr Seuss than anything artistic. I think it’s great exercise for the ol’ brain to think of versus and words that rhyme and describe a photo, I get kind of a kick out of it.

    • Yes, those are Azaleas, something I missed most about the south during the decades we were away. We have some that are supposed to bloom in summer and fall too, but none of them are as glorious as in the spring. We have something or other blooming back in that corner about 9 months of the year, since the Camellias along the back bloom in December. Re: the rhymes – I think rhythm and rhyme are great mnemonic devices, and I have an almost pathological tendency to have rhymes running through my head. When Matt was very young I used to make up “silly songs” for him as a reward for doing some task he was trying to avoid. I think Dr. Seuss was a great artist and one of the most skilled writers for children that I know of. He made it look easy but he was brilliant I think. You are right, though, playing with words is great exercise for the brain, and fun too!

  12. WOW!! Did you yard look like that this Easter? It was beautiful last year. I have noticed everything is sooo slow this year and they are saying the cherry blossoms are not at their peak yet. Have you guys been up to see them? I don’t know if we will get there this year or not. Love the photo’s and the poem.

    • Hi Amy, yes, our yard looks beautiful in springtime, if I do say so myself. I had planned a trip into DC for the day based on the original projected peak bloom times – HA! Only off by what, 2-3 weeks? I consoled myself with photos of the saucer magnolias behind the Castle, and a trip to the Sackler gallery. I’ll try to make it downtown if I can during peak time. Maybe you can grab a day off and come with me. I hope you got the birthday card I sent – I still want to take you to lunch.


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