Friday, March 30, 2012

When lilacs last in the door-yard bloom'd...

The fragrance of the lilac bush outside my front door makes me swoon. I sat on the porch in the breezy afternoon shade and read about Italy.

Coincidentally,  Frances Mayes is writing about spring in Tuscany. I cut a big branch full of blooms and brought them into the house.

It was Walt Whitman who wrote the poem 'When lilacs last in the door-yard bloom'd'.  He wrote it as an elegy shortly after the assassination on April 14, 1865 of President Abraham Lincoln. I don't think I will be writing any poetry to the lilac, I will instead just enjoy its beauty.

Here are the opening lines of Whitman's poem. You can read the entire poem here. The star referred to is Venus, low in the sky in spring, but alludes to Lincoln.

WHEN lilacs last in the door-yard bloom’d,
And the great star early droop’d in the western sky in the night,
I mourn’d—and yet shall mourn with ever-returning spring.
O ever-returning spring! trinity sure to me you bring;
Lilac blooming perennial, and drooping star in the west,        
And thought of him I love.


  1. Spring does bring some brilliant smells and it fabulous that we are reminded each year.

  2. I love the way a lilac smells!