Loveliest of trees, the cherry now…
by A. E. Housman
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.
This poem captured me the first time I read it. I memorized it and muttered it to myself multiple times during the day. I shamelessly recited it to friends where I worked as a computer programmer, er, software engineer.
The poem prompts me to throw myself into the simple gifts of life and to frame these happy moments in my memory for later recall and joy. A snapshot from my camera can do this. The experience can fill my senses with the smell, the view, the sound. The memory can bring it all back as if I were there once again.
The joy in the poem comes from the awareness that the blossoming of the cherry tree has happened forever and will go on forever, but the writer has only a limited number of times to be a part of this phenomenon. He’s seen the blooms before, but this time he will cherish them. He will cherish the entire experience. He will add it to his storehouse of happy moments.