It's touching 90 in the shade,
and still the children play
a game of their devising.
Queening it, a girl receives their tributes:
sticks, wild flowers and branches, stones.
Gracefully she takes them, smiles
approval of the gift, and lays it down.
They bow or curtsy; in return
she claps her hands, dispatches them
on further errands. Obedient,
and seemingly oblivious of the heat,
they run or scoot or cycle,
fast as they can to do her bidding.
She, cool and other-worldly,
youngest of them all,
stirs not an inch beyond
the willow's deepest shade -
the little girl from India.
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