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Catullus 101

Multas per gentes et multa per aequora vectus

Carried through many nations and over many seas

advenio has miseras, frater, ad inferias,

I arrived, brother, for these wretched funeral rites

ut te postremo donarem munere mortis

So that I might present you with the last tribute of death

et mutam nequiquam alloquerer cinerem.

and speak in vain to silent ash,

Quandoquidem fortuna mihi tete abstulit ipsum.

Since fortune has carried away from me you in the flesh

Heu miser indigne frater adempte mihi,

Atlas, poor brother, unfairly taken away from me,

nunc tamen interea haec, prisco quae more parentum

now in the meantime, nevertheless, these things which in the ancient custom of ancestors

tradita sunt tristi munere ad inferias,

are handed over as a sad tribute to the rites

accipe fraterno multum manantia fletu,

receive, dripping much with brotherly weeping.

atque in perpetuum, frater, ave atque vale.

And forever, brother, hail and farewell.

Adonais written by Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822)

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Ode to the Magnolia Tree


Sweet Magnolia your inanimate eyes
See me, outside window daily watching
You, as you do your innate exercise
Amid the changing winds ever blowing;
You cast your verdant raiment without fear
To fall, like a ball in the opened hands
Of compost cheered-on by the green posse;
He loathes your body's naked "wear and tear";
Your beauty sleep is all your head commands
When, heatless sun smiles with awesome mercy.


In the arches of your sweet curves and lines,
You plant your limbs with feet in sodden shoes
To kip, in sheets white as milk from bovines;
While squirrels and jays guard you as they choose.

In dreams you see goblins walking about
Before turkeys are plucked, and stuff with nuts;
Kids hunting for tricks and treats ‘neath the full moon;
While St. Nick, before cat licks ears, is out
With shoppers wanting bargains and price-cuts
From Wal-Mart’s racks and tags, all afternoon.


I saw you there as the sun made its route
Slightly different from that of yesterday
Trapped no more in jaws of frost, beyond doubt,

Magnolia springs suprise on USA;
Bitter cold days of winter cast aside
Sprouting smiles to a winter-weary world;

Green-thumbs hitch-hike upward of benumbed dirt;
You bloom the first in early spring, with pride
Exquisite saucer-filled pleasures unfurled;
As all sorts of flying things on you flirt.


You know, a new year is here! Magnolia
Spills her sweet perfume, of thrills in the air;
Fresh leaves on the boughs, this gift comes from Jah,
Bringing hope, new port, in old-fashioned cheer;
Well poised between the future and the past.
Oh! Magnolia you are my morning star;
And soon, you’ll cast aside your dormant wear;
Now that the winter rains have gone at last;
You’ll come, in full bloom like a well-stocked bar;
So with bated breath I’ll wait for you here.


I have tossed, turned and in my head I think;
One half-tick you may have forgotten me;
With you not here, I cannot sleep a wink;
A question now, when the cadence will be?
You and me on the front lawn a twosome;
Now I see trees are only slightly mad
With anticipation of greenery;
The dankness in this room is bothersome
But the vista before me makes me glad.
Hurrah, hurrah, I’m out of my misery.


As I stand beneath her boughs I see not
A crocus, lily or daffodil’s hue;
Nor squirrels hiding nuts in the green plot;
With flair, Magnolia pours her five-day brew
From cups of whitish, pinkish, lilac tinge.
A fragrance hits my nose beyond compare,
Caught my meditative stance by surprise;
Magnolia’s flaunting beauty shows no cringe,
And her confetti smiles cascade with flair,
Heralding joys of early spring’s sunrise…

© Paterika Hengreaves

This blooming tree grows on the front lawn of my sister’s home in Ohio. Its beauty caught my eyes so in early March of 2007 I wrote "Ode to the Magnolia Tree". It is indeed a magnolia tree from all appearances and botanic behaviour. Right away I mused that a poem in the form of an ode would capture the beauty of this flowering magnolia. The magnolia has become the State Tree/Flower for Louisiana and the Mississippi. These trees grow magnificently amid weather peeves. Now you asked why the ode and not an epic poem on this State tree/flower? I have weighed the pros and cons and for this composition the ode is more appropriate for this moment in time. The ode’s majestic and intricate form of lyrical verse has allowed me to portray my feelings, state of mind and perception towards nature’s awesome beauty in this blooming tree the way no epic poem could do. The epic tells a story and depicts characters and actions and magnolia is not about that; but rather its heraldry of spring now that winter is fast retreating.

“Ode to the Magnolia Tree” takes on the characteristics of the Horatian ode. The Roman poet, Horace perfected this poetic form which consists of a series of uniform stanzas, complex in their metrical system and rhyme scheme. Horatian Odes are characteristically less elaborate and more restrained than Pindaric Odes.
The characteristics of the Horatian ode are found in the “Ode to the Magnolia Tree”. A close examination of its structure shows uniformity of its decimeter stanzas. The verses are written in Iambic Pentameter with a rhyme scheme ababcdecde


Marja said...

Kia Ora Paterika What a magnificent tribute to the magnolia tree and totally deserving We have one in our garden and I totally love them as well.

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Paterika,
You once again have me returning here to read over and over. You bring this to life for me, and make me think of my other home back in the states. I can't watch the video as my broad band is out at the moment but I will return to listen and be thrilled again. Kia ora!
Noho ora mai ra e Paterika,

Steffi said...

Great tribute to Magnolia trees!I have two Magnolias in my garden too!

Bob McKerrow said...

Kia ora, Kei te pehe koe ?

O magnolia tree you are so beautiful and your flowers inspire me to dream of infinte beauty.

Paterika, Thanks for an awesome poem.


Bob McKerrow said...

Dear Paterika

I hope you are well. Haven't heard from you for a while. Perhaps you are working on an epic poem ?

Warm rgerads


Ruahines said...

Kia ora Paterika,
Like Bob I hope all is well with you and are simply taking a wee break. In the meantime I have been going back and enjoying your wonderful poems. Have a great day. PS. I tried to send this earlier and it seemed to fail so I am trying again.
Rangimarie Paterika,


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Māori Version

E Ihowā Atua,
O ngā iwi mātou rā
Āta whakarangona;
Me aroha noa
Kia hua ko te pai;
Kia tau tō atawhai;
Manaakitia mai

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English Version

God of Nations at Thy feet,
In the bonds of love we meet,
Hear our voices, we entreat,
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From the shafts of strife and war,
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Note: The second verse of 'God Save The Queen' is commonly omitted.

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