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The Pot of Flowers

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The Pot of Flowers
by Théophile Gautier, translated by Robert Louis Sanderson

original title “Le Pot de fleurs”

Sometimes a child finds a small seed.
And at once, delighted with its bright colors,
To plant it he takes a porcelain jar
Adorned with blue dragons and strange flowers.

He goes away. The root, snake-like, stretches,
Breaks through the earth, blooms, becomes a shrub;
Each day, farther down, it sinks its fibrous foot,
Until it bursts the sides of the vessel.

The child returns: surprised, he sees the rich plant
Over the vase’s debris brandishing its green spikes;
He wants to pull it out, but the stem is stubborn.
The child persists, and tears his fingers with the pointed arrows.

Thus grew love in my simple heart;
I believed I sowed but a spring flower;
’Tis a large aloe, whose root breaks
The porcelain vase with the brilliant figures.