Poetry Corner May 2022


Do the frequent curve-balls that the weather bowls us justify our British obsession with the weather? Certainly Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s poem “The best thing in the world” seems to refer to a very different season from the Spring that we are experiencing.


What’s the best thing in the world?

June-rose, by May-dew impearled;

Sweet south-wind, that means no rain;

Truth, not cruel to a friend;

Pleasure, not in haste to end;

Beauty, not self-decked and curled

Till its pride is over-plain;

Light, that never makes you wink;

Memory, that gives you no pain;

Love, when, so, you’re loved again.

What’s the best thing in the world?

- Something out of it I think.


I enjoy the way she travels from the earthly plants and weather to the intangible emotions and the complexity of human relationships. And I like the irony of the idea of the best thing in the world being something out of it, but are these things indeed out of this world? Being boringly logical how can they be out of this world if we are experiencing them? And just as well for us that they are!


Friendships are definitely hard to encompass and to define but they are so valuable as WI members know only too well. I think that the analogy of gardens and friendships is apt as both need care and attention and are vulnerable to outside influences (the weather in the case of gardens and other people and chance in the case of friendships). Both reward nurture and provide enduring pleasure. So this month’s photo is from a garden on the borders of Wiltshire (Iford Manor) that I visited with my friend of 45 years.


- Submitted by Gill Gibson-Piggot, WFWI Trustee