A Prayer in Spring
Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers to-day;
And give us not to think so far away
As the uncertain harvest; keep us here
All simply in the springing of the year.
Oh, give us pleasure in the orchard white,
Like nothing else by day, like ghosts by night;
And make us happy in the happy bees,
The swarm dilating round the perfect trees.
And make us happy in the darting bird
That suddenly above the bees is heard,
The meteor that thrusts in with needle bill,
And off a blossom in mid air stands still.
For this is love and nothing else is love,
The which it is reserved for God above
To sanctify to what far ends He will,
But which it only needs that we fulfill.
Hoon has set this poem to a fugue on guitar by Handel.
The poem progresses from considering an orchard,
whose blossoms metamorphize from nothing else, to ghosts, to a swarm of bees,
until suddenly a humming bird appears;
and then pronounces that all these small wonders are an expression of God’s love,
as though we still lived in Eden.
In his poetic essay, The Figure a Poem Makes, Frost writes that:
The artist must value himself as he snatches a thing
from some previous order in time and space into a new order
with not so much as a ligature clinging to it of the old place where it
So it should not seem too farfetched to suggest that the poem,
with its emphasis on taking pleasure in the moment,
and the small things of the moment,
appears to be inspired by the Sermon on the Mount:
Therefore … do not worry about your life
Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns;
Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin;
and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.