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Poem

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Our Casuarina Tree|
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Toru Dutt (1856–77)|
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LIKE a huge Python, winding round and round| |
  The rugged trunk, indented deep with scars,| |
  Up to its very summit near the stars,| |
A creeper climbs, in whose embraces bound| |
  No other tree could live. But gallantly|         5| The giant wears the scarf, and flowers are hung| |
In crimson clusters all the boughs among,| |
  Whereon all day are gathered bird and bee;| |
And oft at nights the garden overflows| |
With one sweet song that seems to have no close,|         10| Sung darkling from our tree, while men repose.| |
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When first my casement is wide open thrown| |
  At dawn, my eyes delighted on it rest;| |
  Sometimes, and most in winter,—on its crest| |
A gray baboon sits statue-like alone|         15|   Watching the sunrise; while on lower boughs| |
His puny offspring leap about and play;| |
And far and near kokilas hail the day;| |
  And to their pastures wend our sleepy cows;| |
And in the shadow, on the broad tank cast|         20| By that hoar tree, so beautiful and vast,| |
The water-lilies spring, like snow enmassed.| |
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But not because of its magnificence| |
  Dear is the Casuarina to my soul:| |
  Beneath it we have played; though years may roll,|         25| O sweet companions, loved with love intense,| |
  For your sakes, shall the tree be ever dear.| |
Blent with your images, it shall arise| |
In memory, till the hot tears blind mine eyes!| |
  What is that dirge-like murmur that I hear|         30| Like the sea breaking on a shingle-beach?| |
It is the tree’s lament, an eerie speech,| |
That haply to the unknown land may reach.| |
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Unknown, yet well-known to the eye of faith!| |
  Ah, I have heard that wail far, far away|         35|   In distant lands, by many a sheltered bay,| |
When slumbered in his cave the...