Archive for the ‘Poetry’ Category

Come and Change

January 27, 2014

Come and Change

One of the first books that I remember in our house was The Princess Elizabeth Giftbook. There was a poem in the book called Come and Change by Herbert Asquith. I read that poem many times. It was the first piece of writing that spoke to me. It taught me about being able to do things differently… about changing.

The illustration was by A.H. Watson. I know now that Herbert Asquith was a poet and the son of the British Prime Minister H.H. Asquith.  Cynthia Asquith was a book editor and publisher. The Princess Elizabeth Giftbook was her project. Her husband, Herbert provided his poem Come and Change.

Come and change, come and change
Into anything you will,
Lion, elephant or bear,
Or a tropic bird with a painted bill;
Which creature of the earth or air
Sky and sea,
Scale and fin, fur and hair,
Which will you be?
Closer, closer, draw you near, one by one,
I have but to lift my hand and it is done!
Would you be swift as the gazelle ?
Here is more than fancy dress,
A slip of dappled loveliness
Streaking the shadows of a dell:
Would you be a speckled thrush,
A squirrel arching in a tree,
A warbler on a waving rush?
Or turn into a honey-bee
Paddling in gold to find his prize
And raising high his fairy halls
With the magic of a thousand walls 
Or with a lark take wing and rise
To shimmer in the morning skies?
Anything you choose is here,
Zebra, armadillo, deer,
Every kind of dog and cat,
Pard and panther, mouse and bat,
Wild horse that knows not bit or shoe,
Toad and tapir and kangaroo;
A tiger with his bands of flame,
And others that no man can tame:
A salmon springing up the weir
With the gleam and flash of a silver spear.
Where the martins curve and glance,
Hither, sons and daughters,
Come and follow in the dance
Above those happy waters!
Swift and easy is the way
High above the nppled sand,
Circling out across the bay;
If I lift this hazel wand,
In that moment you will go,
Leave this human world behind
Glimmering in the mist below,
And sail with swallows on a golden wind.
Make your choice, come and change.
Which will you be,
Which creature of earth or air,
Sky and sea?
Scale and fin, fur and hair,
All are waiting still;
Come with unfaltering feet,
For change is sure and sweet
Into anything you dare,
Anything you will.