Loveliest of Trees
Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
Is hung with bloom on every 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 leave little room,
About the woodlands I will go
To see the cherry hung with snow.
– A. E. Housman
I first read this mini masterpiece when I was a senior in high school, at the time of life when I was just starting to wrestle with the big questions. The idea that the purpose of life was to look at cherry trees struck me as extremely profound. In the ten years since then I haven’t thought about this verse terribly often, but the springtime beauty of rural Virginia brought it back to my mind today.