Hello Tulips

This poem by Edgar Guest takes me back to a time soon after the Stock Market Crash in Oct 1929, when the world was plunged into the Great Depression. The winter of 1930 saw a double whammy happening: in the East the economy was sinking fast as jobs were being lost; in the West the drought had begun and was to last, generally, until Aug 1937. All this while Hitler’s armies were moving into various countries and war clouds were gathering over Europe. Yes, this old world has seen some pretty tough times. As Mr Guest points out, the flowers know nothing of financial woes.

Hello Tulips

Hello, tulips, don’t you know
stocks today are very low?
You appear so bright and glad;
don’t you know that trade is bad?
You are just as fair to see
as you were in times when we
rolled in money. Tell me how
you can look so happy now?

Hello, tulips, white and red,
gleaming in the garden bed.
Can it be you haven’t heard
all the grief which has occurred?
Don’t you see the saddened eye
of the human passer-by?
By his frowning, can’t you tell
things have not been going well?

Hello, tulips, in the sun
You are lovely, every one.
But I wonder, why don’t you
wear a sad, expression, too?
Can it be you fail to see
things aren’t what they used to be?
This old world is all upset;
why don’t you begin to fret?

And they answered me, “Hello.
Nothing’s altered that we know,
warm the sun and sweet the rain,
summer skies are blue again.
Birds are singing and we nod
grateful tulip prayers to God.
Only mortals fret and strive.
We are glad to be alive.”

From his book, The Collected Works of Edgar A Guest
© 1934 by the Reilly & Lee Company

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