We are in the midst of winter. Still, there are signs of what is to come. Yesterday I saw a magnolia tree full of grey felt buds. Surprisingly, I also came across a cherry tree with a scattering of small pink blossoms. Testing the air? Impatient? Confused? Too soon, I fear. But what do I know?
"There Is A Budding Morrow In Midnight"
Wintry boughs against a wintry sky;
Yet the sky is partly blue
And the clouds are partly bright: --
Who can tell but sap is mounting high
Out of sight,
Ready to burst through?
Winter is the mother-nurse of Spring,
Lovely for her daughter's sake,
Not unlovely for her own:
For a future buds in everything;
Grown, or blown,
Or about to break.
Christina Rossetti, Poems (1888).
The source of Rossetti's title is a line from Keats's sonnet "To Homer":
. . . . .
Aye, on the shores of darkness there is light,
And precipices show untrodden green;
There is a budding morrow in midnight,
There is a triple sight in blindness keen;
Such seeing hadst thou, as it once befell
To Dian, Queen of Earth, and Heaven, and Hell.