Table of Contents
This poem by Toru Dutt recounts the numerous hues and plants that Dutt’s speaker sees in her garden home, including bamboo, lotus plants, palms, seemuls, tamarinds, and mangoes. The speaker in Dutt’s poem lists the many different kinds of flora that are in the home’s garden before remarking on how beautiful they are and how they have an intoxicating effect, implying that the garden is akin to a “primitive Eden.”
This reference to the Bible highlights not only the spiritual and religious significance that Dutt attaches to nature but also how vital Christianity and Christian images are to Dutt.
About the poet
Toru Dutt was an English and French-language Bengali poet and translator from British India. Along with Manmohan Ghose (1869–1924), Sarojini Naidu, and Henry Louis Vivian Derozio (1809–1831), she is one of the pioneers of Indo-Anglian writing (1879–1949).  She is well-known for her works of poetry in English, including Ancient Ballads and Legends of Hindustan (1882) and A Sheaf Gleaned in French Fields (1877), as well as for the French novel Le Journal de Mademoiselle d’Arvers (1879).
Her poetry focuses on themes of nationalism, nostalgia, and loneliness. Dutt passed away at age 21.
The poem follows the classical Petrarchan sonnet form, with fourteen lines and an ABBAABBACDCDEE rhyme pattern.
A sea of foliage girds our garden round, But not a sea of dull unvaried green. Sharp contrasts of all colours here are seen: The light-green graceful tamarinds abound, Amid the mango clumps of green profound, And palms arise, like pillars gray, between, And o’er the quiet pools the seemuls lean, Red-red, and startling like a trumpet’s sound.
The poetess observes “A sea of foliage,”. She makes a comparison between her garden’s surroundings and the sea. She claims that unlike the water, which is always green. Toru Dutt likens her garden’s surroundings to the ocean. She continues by saying that unlike the water, which is always green, her garden has a variety of vibrant green hues. Her garden offers a variety of vibrant shades of green, including light green tamarind, dark green mango, and grey-green palm leaves. Additionally, the seemuls tree’s blossoms are a beautiful crimson colour. Like a sudden, piercing trumpet scream, the beautiful red colour of the blossoms on the Seemul tree surprises people.
But nothing can be lovelier than the ranges, Of bamboos to the eastward, when the moon, Looks through their gaps, and the white lotus changes, Into a cup of silver. One might swoon, Drunken with beauty then, or gaze and gaze, On a primeval Eden, in amaze.
The lines of bamboo trees that are developing toward the eastern edge of the garden, according to the poetess, are the most beautiful. The scene is so enthralling that one might almost pass out as the moon shines through the bamboo trees and the white lotus appears to be a silver cup. The view is so alluring that one might almost faint from its beauty or gaze in awe at what appears to be the garden of Eden, the first garden that God created for Adam and Eve, when the moon shines through the bamboo trees and when the white lotus looks like a silver cup.