A Birthday

A Birthday
By Christina Rossetti – 1830-1894

My heart is like a singing bird
  Whose nest is in a water’d shoot;
My heart is like an apple-tree
  Whose boughs are bent with thick-set fruit;
My heart is like a rainbow shell
  That paddles in a halcyon sea;
My heart is gladder than all these,
  Because my love is come to me.

Raise me a daïs of silk and down;
  Hang it with vair and purple dyes;
Carve it in doves and pomegranates,
  And peacocks with a hundred eyes;
Work it in gold and silver grapes,
  In leaves and silver fleurs-de-lys;
Because the birthday of my life
  Is come, my love is come to me.

Today is my 44th birthday. I took today off work, so I doubt I’ll be spending it with anyone. I am going to Burlington to have lunch with a friend of mine, and I might even take myself to dinner tonight and enjoy a lovely meal. Other than that, it’s really just another day. My mother will probably call, and my sister and her two kids will call to wish me happy birthday. That’s about it. Today’s poem is dedicated to it being my birthday.

About the Poem

Love poetry is a common theme in English literature, but there are a few truly great poems about being in love (and being happy). “A Birthday” is an example of a poem which celebrates being in love using colorful and majestic imagery. It is written by one of the Victorian era’s greatest poets. The poet is not celebrating her own birthday but celebrating the birthday of her lover.

About Joe

I began my life in the South and for five years lived as a closeted teacher, but am now making a new life for myself as an oral historian in New England. I think my life will work out the way it was always meant to be. That doesn't mean there won't be ups and downs; that's all part of life. It means I just have to be patient. I feel like October 7, 2015 is my new birthday. It's a beginning filled with great hope. It's a second chance to live my life…not anyone else's. My profile picture is "David and Me," 2001 painting by artist Steve Walker. It happens to be one of my favorite modern gay art pieces. View all posts by Joe

8 responses to “A Birthday

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