Into the scented woods we’ll go,
And see the blackthorn swim in snow.
High above, in the budding leaves,
A brooding dove awakes and grieves;
The glades with mingled music stir,
And wildly laughs the woodpecker.
When blackthorn petals pearl the breeze,
There are the twisted hawthorn trees
Thick-set with buds, as clear and pale
As golden water or green hail —
As if a storm of rain had stood
Enchanted in the thorny wood,
And, hearing fairy voices call,
Hung poised, forgetting how to fall.
It was local patriotism for the Marches that first had me open a book by Mary Webb; later I found the poems, a literary treasure Mrs Turnstone shares. Though we are well away from Shropshire we have the Blackthorn in bloom and the buds of the hawthorn are as Mary Webb describes them, green raindrops, poised on the tips of the twigs. Don’t analyse the poem, enjoy it!
PS – This links to the MS of the poem at Stanford University.