New Zealand born Katherine Mansfield was as much a free spirit as the wind she describes in this poem.
She mentions the wattle, a tree now grown in temperate climes around the world. The West or northern hemisphere knows it as acacia. It charges forth with an overpowering and unforgettable display of yellow flowers in early spring. For those lucky enough to know it, it lives constantly in our memory.
Mansfield wrote mostly short stories.
Katherine died at 34 of tuberculosis, her health weakened by a persistent social disease now curable at any doctor’s office. A literary lioness brought down by a flea.
Spring Wind In London
by Katherine Mansfield (1888 – 1923)
I blow across the stagnant world,
I blow across the sea,
For me, the sailor’s flag unfurled,
For me, the uprooted tree.
My challenge to the world is hurled;
The world must bow to me.
I drive the clouds across the sky,
I huddle them like sheep;
Merciless shepherd-dog am I
And shepherd-watch I keep.
If in the quiet vales they lie
I blow them up the steep.
Lo! In the tree-tops do I hide,
In every living thing;
On the moon’s yellow wings I glide,
On the wild rose I swing;
On the sea-horse’s back I ride,
And what then do I bring?
And when a little child is ill
I pause, and with my hand
I wave the window curtain’s frill
That he may understand
Outside the wind is blowing still;
…It is a pleasant land.
O stranger in a foreign place,
See what I bring to you.
This rain–is tears upon your face;
I tell you–tell you true
I came from that forgotten place
Where once the wattle grew,–
All the wild sweetness of the flower
Tangled against the wall.
It was that magic, silent hour….
The branches grew so tall
They twined themselves into a bower.
The sun shown… and the fall
Of yellow blossom on the grass!
You feel that golden rain?
Both of you could not hold, alas,
(both of you tried, in vain)
A memory, stranger. So I pass….
It will not come again
Beautifully read by Ghizlea Rowe