Portrait of Christina Rossetti

Welcome back to the Richmond Read-along! We’re ending our first week with a poem by Christina Rossetti. Known for both her fantastically allegorical verse and her devotional works, Rossetti’s accomplishment was recognised during her lifetime and her reputation continues to grow. Her most famous – and most studied – work is “Goblin Market,” a poem in which two sisters are tempted to eat fruit sold by goblins. “Goblin Market” was the title poem from her first commercial collection, which also included today’s poem, “Winter Rain:”

“Every valley drinks,
Every dell and hollow:
Where the kind rain sinks and sinks,
Green of Spring will follow.

Yet a lapse of weeks
Buds will burst their edges,
Strip their wool-coats, glue-coats, streaks,
In the woods and hedges;

Weave a bower of love
For birds to meet each other,
Weave a canopy above
Nest and egg and mother.

But for fattening rain
We should have no flowers,
Never a bud or leaf again
But for soaking showers;

Never a mated bird
In the rocking tree-tops,
Never indeed a flock or herd
To graze upon the lea-crops.

Lambs so woolly white,
Sheep the sun-bright leas on,
They could have no grass to bite
But for rain in season.

We should find no moss
In the shadiest places,
Find no waving meadow-grass
Pied with broad-eyed daisies;

But miles of barren sand,
With never a son or daughter,
Not a lily on the land,
Or lily on the water.”

You can find this poem, and the rest of the collection, at Project Gutenberg. For more information about Christina Rossetti, you can find a comprehensive biography – including discussion of her works and reputation – at the Poetry Foundation website.

Let us know what you think of today’s reading by tweeting @RichmondLibs or replying to us on Facebook, and we’ll see you tomorrow for our next Richmond Read-along!