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The Original "Getting Real"

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Monday, 1 June 2009

Flaming June

This is the finest time of year in England! For all our damp climate and rainy times and unpredictable weather, when the sky is changing through various shades of blue between nine and ten-thirty at night, there is a stirring about the whole of Nature coming alive again. The herbs and plants flousish, the trees are suddenly laden with foliage and the whole world seems new again! The moment the sun comes out in England, everyone dashes outdoors. Office workers eat their lunch on the bits of grass or benches in the city; hospital patients are wheeled outside; we rush towards it and cling to it, like every summer might not come again for many years...and oh! How the 'mad dogs and English men' adore 'the midday sun!' James Russell Lowell's lovely poem captures it perfectly, alongside pre-Raphaelite Leighton's painting of 'Flaming June'/

And what so rare a day is June!
Then, if ever, come perfect days;
Then Heaven tries earth if it be in tune,
And over it softly her warm ear lays;
Whether we look, or whether we listen,
We hear life murmur, or see it glisten;
Every clod feels a stir of might,
An instinct within it that reaches and towers,
And, groping blindly above it for light,
Climbs to a soul in grass and flowers;
The flush of life may well be seen
Thrilling back over hills and valleys;
The cowslip startles in meadows green,
The buttercup catches the sun in its chalice,
And there's never a leaf nor a blade too mean
To be some happy creature's palace;
The little bird sits at his door in the sun,
Atilt like a blossom among the leaves,
And lets his illumined being o'errun
With the deluge of summer it receives;
His mate feels the eggs beneath her wings,
And the heart in her dumb breast flutters and sings;
He sings to the wide world, and she to her nest,-
In the nice ear of Nature which song is the best?

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