Wild at HeartJungle-Born by John Eyton

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Frontispiece | Copyright Notice | Dedication | Author’s Note | Poem: A Secret Garden

(Depicting a scene from Chapter VII)

He hid his face in his hands



A. M. E.


The poem entitled “A Secret Garden” is
reprinted by permission of the proprietors
of Punch--a courtesy which the author
wishes gratefully to acknowledge.


Butterflies of blue and green
Make a living dancing screen;
Sunlight shed upon the grass
Swordlike would forbid me pass;
Yet a peacock took this way
With his wives, and yesterday
I could hear a strange bird sing
Just beyond the opening--
Such a bird as can be found
Only on enchanted ground,
Or in dreams; and I must go
                    See! The Sal trunks grow
Sombre now, and in the leaves
A black-and-yellow spider weaves
Webs that brush the face like lips.
Now the dwindling deer-path dips
To a stream unseen, unlit;
Crocodiles abound in it,
And a million million flies,
Startled, dance to daunt my eyes.
These I pass and stoop to take
A grassy tunnel where a snake
Has cast his dappled tawny skin
And lain awhile asleep.
                    I’m in!
No wonder sentinels were placed--
Butterflies and light and laced
Spiders’ webs and gloomy aisles,
Water, flies and crocodiles--
To guard the gate; for here is spread
All that bird had heralded.

A little garden, where the trees
Bear milky blossoms for the bees,
And, in a tangle, tiny grapes
(Here sit the grey shock-headed apes)
And oranges and purple plums
(So I know why the peacock comes),
And scarlet berries (so I know
Where the emerald parrots go
When they spurn the common wood
And wheel and stoop).

                    But ah, it’s good
To light upon a garden thus
Planted once by one of us,
Planned and planted by a man
Who is dead (and yet the plan
Lives and gives delight to these,
To wizened apes and birds and bees),
And good that, knowing every glade,
They chose the place that man hath made.

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