Tuesday poem: Goblin Market by Christina Rossetti (extract)

November 24, 2019

….
Laugh’d every goblin
When they spied her peeping:
Came towards her hobbling,
Flying, running, leaping,
Puffing and blowing,
Chuckling, clapping, crowing,
Clucking and gobbling,
Mopping and mowing,
Full of airs and graces,
Pulling wry faces,
Demure grimaces,
Cat-like and rat-like,
Ratel- and wombat-like,
Snail-paced in a hurry,
Parrot-voiced and whistler,
Helter skelter, hurry skurry,
Chattering like magpies,
Fluttering like pigeons,
Gliding like fishes,—
Hugg’d her and kiss’d her:
Squeez’d and caress’d her:
Stretch’d up their dishes,
Panniers, and plates:
“Look at our apples
Russet and dun,
Bob at our cherries,
Bite at our peaches,
Citrons and dates,
Grapes for the asking,
Pears red with basking
Out in the sun,
Plums on their twigs;
Pluck them and suck them,
Pomegranates, figs.”—

peaches

That extract tells of Lizzie visiting the goblins in an attempt to save her sister, Laura, who has feasted on the goblins’ fruit. I find it fascinating that the wombat is mentioned in this poem; the goblins’ appearance is not limited by mere geography. A ratel is a honey-badger, by the way, also found far from England (except in zoos). The full poem can be read here.

The use of verbs alone from ‘flying’ to ‘mowing’ sounds modern, somehow. This is one of my favourite poems. It has been analysed so much, yet remains fresh as an addictive peach.

Thoughts? Carrots? Sticks? Comments? Go ahead!

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