Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Joanna on Oranges ... and Lemons

Here's an old post of mine, pulled up from Word Wenches, because it's rainy and I am tired tired tired of the scene I'm working on over at the Work In Progress.


Oranges and Lemons, Say the Bells of St. Clements


Raphaelle Peale (American artist, 1774-1825) Orange And A BookOranges and Lemons,
Ring ye bells at St. Clements.
When will you pay me,
Ring ye Bells at ye Old Bailey.
When I am Rich,
Ring ye Bells at Fleetditch.
     Tradtional Counting Rhyme 

There are any number of interpretations as to what this all means, but I see it mostly a reminder that poetry does not necessarily have to make sense.

Those of us with a keen interest in botany will have noticed that oranges -- not to mention lemons -- don't thrive in the British climate.  Well, maybe down in south Devon where hopeful souls sometimes plant palm trees.  But citrus isn't plucked off the tree on Hampstead Heath or in the Welsh mountains.

What is an orange doing in an old, old counting rhyme?
Not to mention lemons.

How come?
Because the Regency and Georgian folks imported their oranges (and lemons) enthusiastically or grew them enthusiastically in greenhouses. 

You can see the rest of this post at:



  1. I have now read everything of yours I can find and am rereading so I don't go through withdrawal...

    1. Are you on my Notify List?

      I don't know when I'll have the next work out, but when I do I'll inform all the folks on that list with a brief email.

      If you want to be on the list, just drop a note to joannaboourne@gmail.com

  2. Excellent writing liove your work