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Spring Morning
By A. A. (Alan Alexander) Milne

Where am I going? I don't quite know.
Down to the stream where the king-cups grow -
Up on the hill where the pine-trees blow -
Anywhere, anywhere, I don't know

Where am I going? The clouds sail by,
Little ones, baby ones, over the sky.
Where am I going? The shadows pass,
Little ones, baby ones, over the grass

If you were a cloud, and sailed up there,
You'd sail on water as blue as air,
And you'd see me here in the fields and say:
"Doesn't the sky look green today?"

Where am I going? The high rooks call:
"It's awful fun to be born at all."
Where am I going? The ring-doves coo:
"We do have beautiful things to do."

If you were a bird, and lived on high,
You'd lean on the wind when the wind came by,
You'd say to the wind when it took you away:
"That's where I wanted to go today!"

Where am I going? I don't quite know.
What does it matter where people go?
Down to the wood where the blue-bells grow -
Anywhere, anywhere. I don't know.


When I was a kid my Mom used to recite this poem over and over. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I realised she wasn’t just making it up, when I read it in a book. I was startled that it didn’t credit my Mom with writing it...

Actually, I was surprised that she’d read something in a book, remembered it, and now recited it to her kids. Having two kids of my own now, and not having memorized anything but the theme to Sponge Bob Square Pants, I recognise this as a feat.

Being a hobby book collector (read, when I have the time and money) I found this poem in a 1925 publication of A. A. Milne’s "When We Were Very Young". Published by McClelland & Stewart, Limited, Toronto, and printed in Canada. Incidentally, my Mom gave me that book out of the blue one day.

I’m 27 now and many of the decisions I’ve made in my life have been made while the voice of my mother sang "Where am I going? I don’t quite know. What does it matter where people go?" in the back of my head. Specifically I remember that song playing in my head while I turned down my first job offer after finishing university. They came back to me with more money and I’ve been with the company for 511 years now.

Perhaps it’s not node-worthy, but I had to stick it out there anyway.
To Michael: I am, and shall remain, my own man. Thanks.

XVI. Spring Morning

Star and coronal and bell
   April underfoot renews,
And the hope of man as well
   Flowers among the morning dews.

Now the old come out to look,
   Winter past and winter’s pains,
How the sky in pool and brook
   Glitters on the grassy plains.

Easily the gentle air
   Wafts the turning season on;
Things to comfort them are there,
   Though ‘tis true the best are gone.

Now the scorned unlucky lad
   Rousing from his pillow gnawn
Mans his heart and deep and glad
   Drinks the valiant air of dawn.

Half the night he longed to die,
   Now are sown on hill and plain
Pleasures worth his while to try
   Ere he longs to die again.

Blue the sky from east to west
   Arches, and the world is wide,
Though the girl he loves the best
   Rouses from another’s side.

A.E. Housman, Last Poems
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Public domain: first published in 1922.

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