Saturday, January 2, 2010

"The Despot" by Edith Nesbit

The Despot
by Edith Nesbit

The garden mould was damp and chill;
Winter had had his brutal will
Since over all the year's content
His devastating legions went.

The Spring's bright banners came: there woke
Millions of little growing folk
Who thrilled to know the winter done,
Gave thanks, and strove towards the sun.

Not so the elect; reserved, and slow
To trust a stranger-sun and grow,
They hesitated, cowered and hid,
Waiting to see what others did.

Yet even they, a little, grew,
Put out prim leaves to day and dew,
And lifted level formal heads
In their appointed garden beds.

The gardener came: he coldly loved
The flowers that lived as he approved,
That duly, decorously grew
As he, the despot, meant them to.

He saw the wildlings flower more brave
And bright than any cultured slave;
Yet, since he had not set them there,
He hated them for being fair.

So he uprooted, one by one,
The free things that had loved the sun,
The happy, eager, fruitful seeds
Who had not known that they were weeds.


  1. Aww, that was sad. :( I have always felt bad for weeds!

  2. A new reader, hooray! I love your blog by the way, especially your post on Jane Eyre! :)

  3. I love weeds, cause they aren't perfect, but are lovely in their own way. Despite my admiration for weeds, I used to like weeding. But now, oh, I'll feel so bad when it comes gardening time and I have to uproot the poor little growing folk.

    It makes me think of all those handicapped people who many people discount and think less of. They are so glad to just be alive, and then people put them down, tearing them out of the ground. Or for that matter, anyone who is made fun of just because they are not average and thus thought of as strange when they really have so much to offer.

    I'm sorry if I'm not making any sense.

  4. You're definitely making sense! The poem seems to say that things are weeds only because someone says they are.