Guest poem sent in by Mallika Chellappa
(Poem #1332) The Flowers
To our private taste, there is always something a little exotic, almost artificial, in songs which, under an English aspect and dress, are yet so manifestly the product of other skies. They affect us like translations; the very fauna and flora are alien, remote; the dog's-tooth violet is but an ill substitute for the rathe primrose, nor can we ever believe that the wood-robin sings as sweetly in April as the English thrush. THE ATHENÆUM. Buy my English posies! Kent and Surrey may Violets of the Undercliff Wet with Channel spray; Cowslips from a Devon combe Midland furze afire Buy my English posies And I'll sell your heart's desire! Buy my English posies! You that scorn the May, Won't you greet a friend from home Half the world away? Green against the draggled drift, Faint and frail and first Buy my Northern blood-root And I'll know where you were nursed: Robin down the logging-road whistles, "Come to me!" Spring has found the maple-grove, the sap is running free; All the winds of Canada call the ploughing-rain. Take the flower and turn the hour, and kiss your love again! Buy my English posies! Here's to match your need Buy a tuft of royal heath, Buy a bunch of weed White as sand of Muysenberg Spun before the gale Buy my heath and lilies And I'll tell you whence you hail! Under hot Constantia broad the vineyards lie Throned and thorned the aching berg props the speckless sky Slow below the Wynberg firs trails the tilted wain Take the flower and turn the hour, and kiss your love again! Buy my English posies! You that will not turn Buy my hot-wood clematis, Buy a frond o' fern Gathered where the Erskine leaps Down the road to Lorne Buy my Christmas creeper And I'll say where you were born! West away from Melbourne dust holidays begin They that mock at Paradise woo at Cora Lynn Through the great South Otway gums sings the great South Main Take the flower and turn the hour, and kiss your love again! Buy my English posies! Here's your choice unsold! Buy a blood-red myrtle-bloom, Buy the kowhai's gold Flung for gift on Taupo's face, Sign that spring is come Buy my clinging myrtle And I'll give you back your home! Broom behind the windy town; pollen o' the pine Bell-bird in the leafy deep where the ratas twine Fern above the saddle-bow, flax upon the plain Take the flower and turn the hour, and kiss your love again! Buy my English posies! Ye that have your own Buy them for a brother's sake Overseas, alone. Weed ye trample underfoot Floods his heart abrim Bird ye never heeded, Oh, she calls his dead to him! Far and far our homes are set round the Seven Seas; Woe for us if we forget, we that hold by these! Unto each his mother-beach, bloom and bird and land Masters of the Seven Seas, oh, love and understand.
(1895) Although manifestly a song (not a poem) for English patriots there is something in this for everyone. (as the last stanza underlines) I can never read this without smelling the scents of parijath, jasmine, champak, kewda (Thazhampu), sandal and the myriad other scents of India, the mynah and the sparrow This too is a gem from the "Anthology of Modern verse" again committed to memory in early childhood, and recalled now thanks to this forum. Mallika