Sunday, May 21, 2006

The Flame Trees of Dubai

I had heard of Flame Trees before coming to this part of the world, thanks to seeing the novel The Flame Trees of Thika prominently displayed on most bookstore shelves. I never bought or read it, but at least I'd heard of flame trees.

Now, of course, I've see actual flame trees. I try to go out for a walk at least once a week, and last week, I didn't see any flame trees in bloom; this week, I saw several blooming, and several more in states of incipient florescence.

I distinctly remember prior years when the flame trees burst into bloom while the weather was still pleasant, making for a very pleasant walking opportunity. Of course, my memory may be, and probably is, failing, for, this year, the flame trees began blooming after the temperatures decided to remain in the mid 40s (or about 110 for Americans). Walking is, now, decidedly unpleasant, so I recommend viewing the flame trees from the comfort of an air conditioned vehicle (a comfort denied to those of us who are confirmed pedestrians).

Still, the flame trees are a dramatic display of vivid red, and well worth seeing.

Houseman wrote:

Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
Is hung with bloom upon the bough,
And stands about the woodland ride
Wearing white for Eastertide.

This part of the world has no cherry trees (and cherries, imported from Europe, cost more than I can afford), so, here, I'd say

Loveliest of trees (for Dubai), the flame trees now
Infloresce by moor├ęd dhow,
And all along the Dubai street
Stand scarlet in the searing heat.

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