Sidney Lanier

(1842-1881 / Macon / Georgia)

Rose-Morals - Poem by Sidney Lanier

I. -- Red.

Would that my songs might be
What roses make by day and night --
Distillments of my clod of misery
Into delight.

Soul, could'st thou bare thy breast
As yon red rose, and dare the day,
All clean, and large, and calm with velvet rest?
Say yea -- say yea!

Ah, dear my Rose, good-bye;
The wind is up; so; drift away.
That songs from me as leaves from thee may fly,
I strive, I pray.


II. -- White.

Soul, get thee to the heart
Of yonder tuberose: hide thee there --
There breathe the meditations of thine art
Suffused with prayer.

Of spirit grave yet light,
How fervent fragrances uprise
Pure-born from these most rich and yet most white
Virginities!

Mulched with unsavory death,
Grow, Soul! unto such white estate,
That virginal-prayerful art shall be thy breath,
Thy work, thy fate.


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Read poems about / on: rose, red, fate, work, wind, death, light, night, heart, song



Poem Submitted: Tuesday, December 31, 2002



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