By Christina Rossetti 1830-1894
I plucked pink blossoms from mine apple tree
And wore them all that evening in my hair
Then in due season when I went to see
I found no apples there.
With dangling basket all along the grass
As I had come I went the selfsame track:
My neighbours mocked me while they saw me pass
So empty-handed back.
Lilian and Lilias smile in trudging by,
Their heaped-up basket teased me like a jeer;
Sweet-voiced they sang beneath the sunset sky,
Their mother’s home was near.
Plump Gertrude passed me with her basket full,
A stronger hand than hers helped it along;
A voice talked with her thro’ the shadows cool
More sweet to me than song.
Ah Willie, Willie, was my love less worth
Than apples with their green leaves piled above?
I counted rosiest apples on the earth
Of far less worth than love.
So once it was with me you stooped to talk
Laughing and listening in this very lane:
To think that by this way we used to walk
We shall not walk again!
I let my neighbours pass me, ones and twos
And groups; the latest said the night grew chill,
And hastened: but I loitered, while the dews
Fell fast I loitered still.
Christina Rossetti lived a quiet life. She never married and lived by a strict religious code. When not writing poetry Christina did charitable work. For 10 years she volunteered at a woman’s penitentiary.
She was a woman who set herself outside the expected norms of her time and thus she was referred to as one of nineteenth-century England’s greatest Odd Women. As grandmother’s it is important that we support our daughters and granddaughters to set their own course in life. Encouraging them to be what they want to be against all odds, like Christina Rossetti.