The Spanish Needle Poem

Recently I’ve been thinking about the poem “The Spanish Needle” by Claude McKay; as children, we read this poem from our English reading text book in Primary school. Not many persons in the Kingston and St. Andrew parishes of Jamaica know about Spanish Needle plants (Bidens pilosa), and such a plant seems non-existent in the city.Spanish NeedleThe poem by Claude McKay is as follows:

The Spanish Needle
Lovely dainty Spanish needle
With your yellow flower and white,
Dew bedecked and softly sleeping,
Do you think of me to-night?

Shadowed by the spreading mango,
Nodding o’er the rippling stream,
Tell me, dear plant of my childhood,
Do you of the exile dream?

Do you see me by the brook’s side
Catching crayfish ‘neath the stone,
As you did the day you whispered:
Leave the harmless dears alone?Spanish NeedleDo you see me in the meadow
Coming from the woodland spring
With a bamboo on my shoulder
And a pail slung from a string?

Do you see me all expectant
Lying in an orange grove,
While the swee-swees sing above me,
Waiting for my elf-eyed love?

Lovely dainty Spanish needle,
Source to me of sweet delight,
In your far-off sunny southland
Do you dream of me to-night?Spanish Needle

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