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Friday, April 23, 2010

Poetry Friday--"Lilacs"

Amy Lowell (1874-1925) was a Massachusetts girl, and, like many other New England poets, she wrote about the natural world around her. Here is just a part of Lowell's poem, "Lilacs," which you can't mistake as being the product of anyone other than a New Englander!

False blue,
Color of lilac,
Your great puffs of flowers
Are everywhere in this my New England.
Among your heart-shaped leaves
Orange orioles hop like music-box birds and sing
Their little weak soft songs;
In the crooks of your branches
The bright eyes of song sparrows sitting on spotted eggs
Peer restlessly through the light and shadow
Of all Springs.
Lilacs in dooryards
Holding quiet conversations with an early moon;
Lilacs watching a deserted house
Settling sideways into the grass of an old road;
Lilacs, wind-beaten, staggering under a lopsided shock of bloom
Above a cellar dug into a hill.
You are everywhere.
You were everywhere.
You can read the rest here.

These lines are from the final stanza of "Lilacs":

Heart-leaves of lilac all over New England,
Roots of lilac under all the soil of New England,
Lilac in me because I am New England
The poem is 3 1/2 pages long. If you'd like to read it in a good old fashioned book of paper and cardboard, it is found in American Poetry: The Twentieth Century, Volume One: Henry Adams to Dorothy Parker. (This is a multi-volumed set put out by The Library of America.)

It is nearly lilac time here in New Hampshire, and I can't wait!

Visit Picture Book of the Day for this week's Poetry Friday Round-Up. Have a great weekend!

Photo by yorkd


  1. I bury my face in the neighbor's lilacs every chance I get!

  2. My daughter hates to walk with me because I've been known to stop and do exactly the same thing!

  3. I'm off-topic here, but I just want to say: I defy anyone to look at that photograph of you without smiling.

  4. Thanks Shelley, I'm glad you said "smiling" and not "laughing!" That picture was taken on Halloween at the library quite a few years ago. I haven't done any costumes for a while, but I'm going to surprise everyone on May 5th!