The Poetry Corner

A Backward Spring

By Thomas Hardy

The trees are afraid to put forth buds, And there is timidity in the grass; The plots lie gray where gouged by spuds, And whether next week will pass Free of sly sour winds is the fret of each bush Of barberry waiting to bloom. Yet the snowdrop's face betrays no gloom, And the primrose pants in its heedless push, Though the myrtle asks if it's worth the fight This year with frost and rime To venture one more time On delicate leaves and buttons of white From the selfsame bough as at last year's prime, And never to ruminate on or remember What happened to it in mid-December. April 1917.