March 17, 2020 / 2:03 PM / 14 days ago

EU offers an Ode to Spring to soothe coronavirus nerves

FILE PHOTO: Red tulips bloom during a sunny spring day at Prater park in Vienna, Austria, April 20, 2018. REUTERS/Lisi Niesner/File Photo

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Commission closed its daily briefing in Brussels on Tuesday with a poem, to bring some cheer amid the coronavirus gloom.

The briefing for journalists is usually a dry exchange on policy, but chief spokesman Eric Mamer said he felt moved to recite a poem.

“I don’t know if, like me, you noticed that outside the sun was shining this morning in the park,” he said.

“I wanted to read out a little poem for all of us, to remind us that nature continues and that spring is about to come and that we will see spring,” he added.

A Frenchman, Mamer then read out ‘Printemps’ (‘Springtime’) by the nineteenth century French Romantic movement poet and novelist Victor Hugo.

The short poem celebrates the “sweet smile” that springtime brings to March and April and, translated into English, ends with the line: “Something happy singing in the infinity”.

Very few journalists attended the briefing in person as many are watching livestreamed EU events from their homes due to the spread of the virus.

Mamer ended by wishing all a Happy St. Patrick’s Day.

Reporting by John Chalmers; Editing by Alexandra Hudson

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