Poets are wont to write about the blackthorn as it begins to bloom in late winter or early spring, particularly in connection with the chill winds that accompany the turning of the year. Straddling the seasons, the blackthorn bears winter's bleakness, while at the same time hinting of spring. A precursor of the crocus.
A cold wind stirs the blackthorn
To burgeon and to blow,
Besprinkling half-green hedges
With flakes and sprays of snow.
Thro' coldness and thro' keenness,
Dear hearts, take comfort so:
Somewhere or other doubtless
These make the blackthorn blow.
Christina Rossetti, Verses (1893). "Blow" in this instance means to blossom or to bloom.
With its suggestion that "coldness" and "keenness" and "hardness" will eventually give way to reawakening and growth, "Endure Hardness" is reminiscent of Rossetti's "There Is a Budding Morrow in Midnight," which I have posted here previously. Here are the last three lines of that poem:
For a future buds in everything;
Grown, or blown,
Or about to break.
Christina Rossetti, Poems (1888).
The resemblance of blackthorn blossoms to snow recurs in the following poem by Michael Longley.
A bouquet for my fifties, these flowers without leaves
Like easter snow, hailstones clustering at dayligone --
From the difficult thicket a walking stick in bloom, then
Astringency, the blackthorn and its smoky plum.
Michael Longley, The Weather in Japan (Jonathan Cape 2000).
In a note, Longley indicates that "dayligone" (line 2) is a "Scots (or Ulster Scots)" word which means "twilight, dusk." Ibid, page 68. The word "easter" (line 2) is not capitalized in the original.