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Page 051

FLOWERS

ROADSIDE FLOWERS
BLISS CARMAN


We are the roadside flowers
Straying from garden grounds,
Lovers of idle hours,
Breakers of ordered bounds.

If only the earth will feed us,
If only the wind be kind,
We blossom for those who need us,
The strangers left behind.

And lo, the Lord of the Garden,
He makes His sun to rise,
And His rain to fall like pardon
On our dusty paradise.

On us He has laid the duty
The task of the wandering breedis
To better the world with beauty,
Wherever the way may lead.

Page 052

ROADSIDE FLOWERS

Who shall inquire of the season
Or question the wind where it blows?
We blossom and ask no reason;
The Lord of the Garden knows.

NOTES AND QUESTIONS
Biography
. Bliss Carman (1861- ) was born in Canada. He was graduated from the University of New Brunswick, and studied at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, and later at Harvard College. For some years he lived in New York City and edited the magazine, The Independent. He has written many short stories and poems of rare beauty and charm.
Discussion. 1. Who is speaking in the poem? 2. What do we commonly call roadside flowers? 3. What characteristics of roadside flowers that differ from those of cultivated flowers are noted in the first two stanzas? 4. What service do the flowers say they render? To whom? 5. How does "the Lord of the Garden" help the roadside flowers in their task? What is their task? 6. Do you think the last stanza means that the humble roadside flowers believe, with the poet Browning, that "all service ranks the same with God"? 7. What does the last stanza mean to you?

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