THE FLOWERS - Benjamin Franklin King Poems

 
 

Poems » benjamin franklin king » the flowers

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 ATHENΖUM.

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.

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