An age being mathematical, these flowers
Of linear stalks and spheroid blooms were prized
By men with wakened, speculative minds,
And when with mathematics they explored
The Macrocosm, and came at last to
The Vital Spirit of the World, and named it
Invisible Pure Fire, or, say, the Light,
The Tulips were the Light's receptacles.
The gold, the bronze, the red, the bright-swart Tulips!
No emblems they for us who no more dream
Of mathematics burgeoning to light
With Newton's prism and Spinoza's lens,
Or berkeley's ultimate, Invisible Pure Fire.
In colored state and carven brilliancy
We see them now, or, more illumined,
In sudden fieriness, as flowers fit
To go with vestments red on Pentecost.
Thursday, January 1, 2004