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(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963 / San Francisco)

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Asking for Roses

A house that lacks, seemingly, mistress and master,
With doors that none but the wind ever closes,
Its floor all littered with glass and with plaster;
It stands in a garden of old-fashioned roses.

I pass by that way in the gloaming with Mary;
'I wonder,' I say, 'who the owner of those is.'
'Oh, no one you know,' she answers me airy,
'But one we must ask if we want any roses.'

So we must join hands in the dew coming coldly
There in the hush of the wood that reposes,
And turn and go up to the open door boldly,
And knock to the echoes as beggars for roses.

'Pray, are you within there, Mistress Who-were-you?'
'Tis Mary that speaks and our errand discloses.
'Pray, are you within there? Bestir you, bestir you!
'Tis summer again; there's two come for roses.

'A word with you, that of the singer recalling--
Old Herrick: a saying that every maid knows is
A flower unplucked is but left to the falling,
And nothing is gained by not gathering roses.'

We do not loosen our hands' intertwining
(Not caring so very much what she supposes),
There when she comes on us mistily shining
And grants us by silence the boon of her roses.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003


Read poems about / on: flower, silence, summer, house, wind, rose

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  • Liliana ~el (9/9/2013 4:47:00 PM)

    beautiful. really unexpected and, yes, enchanting. a misty quality indeed

    9 person liked.
    8 person did not like.
  • Liliana ~el (9/9/2013 4:47:00 PM)

    beautiful. really unexpected and, yes, enchanting. a misty quality indeed

  • Mudnainah Farah (2/20/2013 2:33:00 PM)

    Enchanting poem this is, :)

  • * Sunprincess * (10/26/2012 12:10:00 AM)

    wow..this poem is very unforgettable..love the mysterious quality
    of the empty house with no mistress..but yet they go to the house
    to ask for roses..is there someone actually living there or just a
    ghost? ..fabulous write.. :)

  • Annamaria Fernandez (4/13/2012 11:16:00 AM)

    beautiful btw check out my poem time

  • Bhavya Kaman (3/5/2012 12:20:00 PM)

    Beautiful poem... I really love the way it is narrated. So simple yet authentic in its own way.

  • john tiong chunghoo (12/30/2006 12:41:00 PM)

    love the poem. greatness of sun so quietly supporting life.

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