Little sprigs of spring! Little pings and pangs of plague!

The little colour that could – that verdant NEON GREEN – is back!

Not only from its last fashionable hurrah in the late 1980s, but also in its seasonal rebirth. Bursting forth from the ground, from canvas, from textiles, and into our cold, black hearts comes a vibrancy and luminosity to juxtapose our currently melancholic moods. As D.H. Lawrencei put it :

I am amazed at this spring, this conflagration
Of green fires lit on the soil of the earth, this blaze
Of growing, and sparks that puff in wild gyration,
Faces of people streaming across my gaze.

In photos…

Sprigs of Spring - 8

And in poetry, courtesy of Thomas Nasheii :

Spring, the sweet spring
Spring, the sweet spring, is the year’s pleasant king,
Then blooms each thing, then maids dance in a ring,
Cold doth not sting, the pretty birds do sing:
Cuckoo, jug-jug, pu-we, to-witta-woo!

The palm and may make country houses gay,
Lambs frisk and play, the shepherds pipe all day,
And we hear aye birds tune this merry lay:
Cuckoo, jug-jug, pu-we, to-witta-woo!

The fields breathe sweet, the daisies kiss our feet,
Young lovers meet, old wives a-sunning sit,
In every street these tunes our ears do greet:
Cuckoo, jug-jug, pu-we, to witta-woo!
Spring, the sweet spring!

Which dovetails neatly into another of his poems :

In Time of Plague [Adieu, farewell, earth’s bliss]
Adieu, farewell, earth’s bliss;
This world uncertain is;
Fond are life’s lustful joys;
Death proves them all but toys;
None from his darts can fly;
I am sick, I must die.
Lord, have mercy on us!

Rich men, trust not in wealth,
Gold cannot buy you health;iii
Physic himself must fade.
All things to end are made,
The plague full swift goes by;
I am sick, I must die.
Lord, have mercy on us!

Beauty is but a flower
Which wrinkles will devour;
Brightness falls from the air;
Queens have died young and fair;
Dust hath closed Helen’s eye.iv
I am sick, I must die.
Lord, have mercy on us!

Strength stoops unto the grave,
Worms feed on Hector’s brave;v
Swords may not fight with fate,
Earth still holds ope her gate.
“Come, come!” the bells do cry.
I am sick, I must die.
Lord, have mercy on us.

Wit with his wantonness
Tasteth death’s bitterness;
Hell’s executioner
Hath no ears for to hear
What vain art can reply.
I am sick, I must die.
Lord, have mercy on us.

Haste, therefore, each degree,
To welcome destiny;
Heaven is our heritage,
Earth but a player’s stage;
Mount we unto the sky.
I am sick, I must die.
Lord, have mercy on us.

It’s the colour that keeps on giving.
___ ___ ___

  1. 1885-1930.
  2. 1567-1601, during which time there was absolutely no shortage of plagues.
  3. Surely, this is the scariest part of any plague : just how fucking democratic it is.
  4. Presumably Helen of Troy, the face that launched a thousand ships.
  5. Presumably Hector of Troy, the hero warrior elevated in Homer’s Iliad.

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