Representative Poetry Online
  Poet Index   Poem Index   Random   Search  
  Introduction   Timeline   Calendar   Glossary   Criticism   Bibliography  
  RPO   Canadian Poetry   UTEL  
by Name
by Date
by Title
by First Line
by Last Line
Short poem

Katharine Hinkson (1861-1931)

The Choice

              1When skies are blue and days are bright
              2A kitchen-garden's my delight,
              3Set round with rows of decent box
              4And blowsy girls of hollyhocks.

              5Before the lark his Lauds hath done
              6And ere the corncrake's southward gone;
              7Before the thrush good-night hath said
              8And the young Summer's put to bed.

              9The currant-bushes' spicy smell,
            10Homely and honest, likes me well.
            11The while on strawberries I feast,
            12And raspberries the sun hath kissed.

            13Beans all a-blowing by a row
            14Of hives that great with honey go,
            15With mignonette and heaths to yield
            16The plundering bee his honey-field.

            17Sweet herbs in plenty, blue borage
            18And the delicious mint and sage,
            19Rosemary, marjoram, and rue,
            20And thyme to scent the winter through.

            21Here are small apples growing round,
            22And apricots all golden-gowned,
            23And plums that presently will flush
            24And show their bush a Burning Bush.

            25Cherries in nets against the wall,
            26Where Master Thrush his madrigal
            27Sings, and makes oath, a churl is he
            28Who grudges cherries for a fee.

            29Lavender, sweet-briar, orris. Here
            30Shall Beauty makes her pomander,
            31Her sweet balls for to lay in clothes
            32That wrap her as the leaves the rose.

            33Take roses red and lilies white,
            34A kitchen-garden's my delight;
            35Its gillyflowers and phlox and cloves,
            36And its tall cote of irised doves.


3] box: "genus (Buxus) of small evergreen trees or shrubs ... specially B. sempervirens, the Common or Evergreen Box-tree, a native of Europe and Asia; a shrub with deep-green leaves of a thick leathery texture" (OED "box," sb. 1, 1).

4] blowsy: blown-about, untidy, blowzy.

5] Lauds: first liturgical service of the day, celebrated usually well before dawn.

6] corncrake: the landrail, a harsh-sounding summer bird.

15] mignonette: sweet-smelling, blossomy reseda.

17] borage: a blue-flowered plant used to make cordial drinks.

24] Burning Bush: God revealed himself in a burning bush to Moses on Horeb.

29] orris: flower-de-luce.

30] pomander: "A mixture of aromatic substances, usually made into a ball, and carried in a small box or bag ... in the hand or pocket, or suspended by a chain from the neck or waist, esp. as a preservative against infection" (OED).

35] gillyflowers: clove-scented wallflowers, pinks. phlox: colorful flower.

36] cote: small cottage. irised: rainbow-coloured.

Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: Katharine Tynan, Collected Poems (London: Macmillan, 1930): 243-44. 9720.d.402 Cambridge University Library
First publication date: 1901
Publication date note: Tynan's Poems (1901).
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: 2002
Recent editing: 1:2002/12/30

Form: quatrains
Rhyme: aabb

Other poems by Katharine Hinkson