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And since to look at things in bloom, fifty springs. . .

Some days I want a poem the way I want a glass of sparkling water when I'm thirsty. Powerline's Scott Johnson seemed to feel the same way about a song:

Fran and Tommy soon began writing songs which he would sing nightly to the drinking masses at the Crystal Palace. One night the British born piano player George Shearing came into the club and was particularly taken with a song whose title Fran had come up with while speculating on how a hip jazz musician might express the T.S. Eliot line "April Is The Cruellest Month. . ." The song was called "Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most" . . .

As Scott observes, Eliot's line came from Chaucer's "Whan that Aprille. . ", but Eliot and Fran Landesman evoked spring's melancholy. Here in Portland, where clouds of pink and white plum trees, magnolias and cherries are blooming, Housman has the lines I want:


Loveliest of trees, the cherry now

Is hung with bloom along the bough,

And stands about the woodland ride

Wearing white for Eastertide.


Now of my threescore years and ten,

Twenty will not come again,

And take from seventy springs a score,

It only leaves me fifty more.


And since to look at things in bloom

Fifty springs are little room,

About the woodlands I will go

To see the cherry hung with snow.


Note: Spring always begins around February 1 in Portland's maritime climate. Trees may be blooming a bit earlier this year, but at the moment it is hailing. . .


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