‘Goblin Market’

goblin.jpgYesterday, on our way to the suburbs (where we attended a nice mawlid at the Turkish American Center), we stopped to address a tire pressure problem at a gas station. Right there, in a busy, ugly intersection, we saw a cozy little house, nicely decorated, standing cheerily amidst the urban congestion. Somehow the phrase Like a lily in the flood occurred to me.
I gave my 10 year old a taster of the story of the Victorian poem “Goblin Market” (1859) and asked her tantalizingly, “Do you want to listen to the poem?” Well, of course she did.
I proceeded to pull up the poem on my phone, and recited the ENTIRE 567 lines, only occasionally stopping to ask, “What do you think she did?” And she liked it VERY much and didn’t once say, stop, I’m bored. 
So, poem of the day is one illustrated by Arthur Rackham, a poem that Christina Rossetti did NOT think was for children because of the sexual imagery. The many possible layers in this poem – female heroism, feminism and escapism, female sexuality, carnal lust make it a perfect literary masterpiece for persons of all ages to ponder.
Morning and evening
Maids heard the goblins cry:
“Come buy our orchard fruits,
Come buy, come buy:
Apples and quinces,
Lemons and oranges,
Plump unpeck’d cherries,
Melons and raspberries,
Bloom-down-cheek’d peaches,
Swart-headed mulberries,
Wild free-born cranberries,
Crab-apples, dewberries,
Pine-apples, blackberries,
Apricots, strawberries;—
All ripe together
In summer weather,—
Morns that pass by,
Fair eves that fly;
Come buy, come buy:
Our grapes fresh from the vine,
Pomegranates full and fine,
Dates and sharp bullaces,
Rare pears and greengages,
Damsons and bilberries,
Taste them and try:
Currants and gooseberries,
Bright-fire-like barberries,
Figs to fill your mouth,
Citrons from the South,
Sweet to tongue and sound to eye;
Come buy, come buy.”
Evening by evening
Among the brookside rushes,
Laura bow’d her head to hear,
Lizzie veil’d her blushes:
Crouching close together
In the cooling weather,
With clasping arms and cautioning lips,
With tingling cheeks and finger tips.
“Lie close,” Laura said,
Pricking up her golden head:
“We must not look at goblin men,
We must not buy their fruits:
Who knows upon what soil they fed
Their hungry thirsty roots?”
“Come buy,” call the goblins
Hobbling down the glen.
“Oh,” cried Lizzie, “Laura, Laura,
You should not peep at goblin men.”

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