Sunday, 22 March 2009

The Spring Walk (poem)

Spring on the river Cothi.

I was looking in a lovely1970s book this morning (as I feel in a retro mood!) - Country Bazaar - does anyone else have it? Anyway, I came across this lovely poem which really sums up my spring walks at the moment. I know it's Mother's Day, but if you have a chance - get out for a walk today and enjoy the countryside around you.

THE SPRING WALK by Thomas Miller

We had a pleasant walk today,
Over the meadows and far away,

Across the bridge by the water-mill,

By the woodside, and up the hill;

And if you listen to what I say,

I'll tell you what we saw to-day.

Amid a hedge, where the first leaves
Were peeping from their sheaths so shy,

We saw four eggs within a nest,

And they were blue as the summer's sky.

An elder-branch dipp'd in the brook,

We wondered why it moved and found

A silken-hair'd, smooth water-rat

Nibbling and swimming round and round.

Where daisies open'd to the sun,

In a broad meadow, green and white,
The lambs were racing eagerly -

We never saw a prettier sight.

We saw upon the shady banks,

Long rows of golden flowers shine,
And first mistook for buttercups

The star-shaped yellow celandine.

Anemones and primroses,

And the blue violets of spring,

We found whilst listening by a hedge

To hear a merry ploughman sing.

And from the earth the plough turn'd up

There came a sweet refreshing smell,

Such as the lily of the vale

Sends forth from many a woodland dell.

We saw the yellow wallflower wave

Upon a mouldering castle wall,

And then we watched the busy rooks

Among the ancient elm-trees tall.

And leaning from the old stone bridge,

Below we saw our shadows lie,

And through the gloomy arches watch'd

The swift and fearless swallows fly.

We heard the speckle-breasted lark

As it sang somewhere out of sight,

And we tried to find it, but the sky

Was filled with clouds of dazzling light.

We saw young rabbits near the wood,

And heard a pheasant's wing go 'whir',

And then we saw a squirrel leap

From an old oak-tree to a fir.

We came back by the village fields,

A pleasant walk it was across them,

For all across the houses lay

The orchards red and white with blossom.

Were I to tell you all we saw

I'm sure that it would take me hours,

For the whole landscape was alive

With bees, and birds, and buds, and flowers.

Perhaps not the BEST poetry I have ever read, but it certainly sums up what can be seen outside at present, though of course it's a bit early for swallows yet. The earliest they've arrived around here is on my birthday, early in April. Mind you, with this warm weather, you never know. Our starlings have upped and gone, sometime in the last week. They were here a week ago and gone by Wednesday, who knows where? No singing ploughman round these parts - they all have the tractor radio going full blast these days, and sadly no water rats either - I remember them vividly from my childhood - even in the polluted stream down in our valley - but here although the river has Dippers and 'Water' (Grey) Wagtails, the vicious Mink have done for poor ratty . . .


  1. I'm wondering if a water rat is what we call a muskrat. The resident muskrats surfaced in the pond yesterday--out of hibernation in their mudbank homes. They torment the mallards, swimming round and round, getting in the way of the ducks.

  2. That should tell you all about it Sharon - it's not very big at all, and not like your lovely Muskrat - whose duck-annoying habits sound funny!

  3. I should have known that you'd be familiar with Country Bazaar - we subscribed to it and I have almost all of them, I was really sad when it ceased publication. Must go and fish them out of the loft! I have a hardback called Country Bizarre too which I think must have been an earlier version and a bit more underground.