My hair was over in the grass,
My naked ears heard the day pass[.]
My eyes, wide open, had the run
Of some ten weeds to fix upon;
His inclusion of such sensory detail helps place the reader in the scene. Not until the final stanza, however, does the reader recognize the narrator's true inner sadness, when Rossetti writes, "From perfect grief there need not be/ Wisdom or even memory/ One thing then learnt remains to me/ — The woodspurge has a cup of three." Lending such great importance to the woodspurge in the poem's final line, Rossetti emphasizes the mundane details that people remember in times of acute emotional pain.
‘The Woodspurge’, written in 1856 when the poet was twenty-eight, shows a man in deep grief and isolation. Like Christina’s poem, this one also uses images of nature, and ends with focus upon a simple wild plant, the woodspurge. But is the speaker really seeing this plant? It is worth looking in some detail at the first stanza, to see how Rossetti is able, in a simple and almost unemotional way, to express his mood, and the way that it has swung from pain (‘the wind flapped loose’, but...