Caris Brooke Poem: Quand Meme (1888)

by Anna Blanch on March 8, 2011

Caris Brooke was the pseudonym of Saretta Green, E.Nesbit’s half sister.This poem was published as part of Nesbit’ Easter-tide collection of 1888 published by E.P. Dutton.

QUAND MEME.
EXULTANT in the gray uncertain light,
Out of a dream the bird-voice seemed to break,
As if it came from woods and fields of home, —

Proclaiming, “Spring is here. Awake! Awake!”
No mateless wanderer, I said, would roam
So far from sheltering copse and meadow bright,
To fling his challenge to the sleeping town:


Some prisoned thrush is trying thus to drown
Memories of love and spring that haunt him yet.
O restless songster ! crying to be free.
Dost thou remember love and liberty—


And I forget ?
I know where gold lent-lilies wave afield,
Where April keeps her white ungathered store
Of violets—where the trembling cuckoo flowers
Fringe the brown roots of budding sycamore —


Green nooks where birds between the Spring-tide
showers
Make passionate music ; where old pastures yield
Their cowslip bells to little children’s hands:

Ah, weary bird ! these are but shadow lands !
 

Then the dawn showed me where, unfaltering,
A thrush unfettered on a blackened tree
Thrilled these wild strains of love and ecstasy,
In praise of Spring.
                                             — Caris Brooke.


Anna Blanch is founder of Goannatree, and a PhD candidate in the Institute of Theology, Imagination, and the Arts at St Mary’s College, University of St Andrews, Scotland. She is also a regular contributor to Transpositions.

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