Friday, October 24, 2008

Poetry Friday: Goblin Market by Christina Rosetti

As Halloween approaches, I cannot help but think of Christina Rosetti's Goblin Market, a poem I studied first in high school and then more in-depth in college. This is the story of two sisters, Laura and Lizzie, who:

"MORNING and evening
Maids heard the goblins cry:
"Come buy our orchard fruits,
Come buy, come buy:
Apples and quinces,
Lemons and oranges,
Plump unpeck'd cherries,
Melons and raspberries,
Bloom-down-cheek'd peaches,
Swart-headed mulberries,
Wild free-born cranberries,
Crab-apples, dewberries,
Pine-apples, blackberries,
Apricots, strawberries; -"

One day Laura yields to the temptation and consumes the fruit and almost dies as a result before her sister heroically saves her in a most bizarre way.

With themes of temptation, redemption, the fallen woman, sexuality, and more, it was captivating enough to get me interested in poetry as a high school student. And creepy enough for my teenage angst to keep me reading it over and over again.

If you haven't read the very long poem, you can find it here. Or listen to a fairly creepy audio recording here.

Kelly is hosting Poetry Friday at Big A little a.


  1. My first reading of this poem was in grad school, and I was stunned at the sexuality of some of the illustrations that have accompanied the poem...

  2. FANTASTIC poem, thanks for sharing it. I remember being so creeped out by this - and loving it - when I read it as a teenager.