To a Wild Rose Found in October

THOU foolish blossom, all untimely blown,
Poor jest of summer, come when woods are chill!
Thy sister buds in June’s warm redness grown,
That lit with laughter all the upland hill,
Have traceless passed ; save on each thornèd stem
Red drops tell how their hearts, in dying, bled.
Theirs was the noon’s rich languor, and for them
The maiden moon her haloed beauty spread.
For them the bobolink his music spilled
In bubbling streams, and well the wild bee knew
Their honeyed hearts. Now bird and bee are stilled,
Now southward swallows hurry down the blue,
Fleeing the murderous Frost that even now
Hath smote the marshes with his bitter breath,
Quenching the flames that danced on vine and bough,—
Think’st thou thy beauty will make truce with Death,
Or hold in summer’s leash his loosened wrath ?
See! o’er the shrunk grass trail the blackened vines ;
And hark ! the wind, tracking the snow’s fell path,
Snarls like a fretted hound among the pines.
The pallid sunshine fails, — a sudden gloom
Sweeps up the vale, a-thrill with boding fear.
What place for thee ? Too late thy pride and bloom !
Born out of time, poor fool, what dost thou here ?
What do I here when speeds the threatening blight?
June stirred my heart, and so June is for me.
Who feels life’s impulse bourgeon into light
Recks not of seasons, knows not bird or bee.
I can but bloom, — did the June roses more?
I can but droop, — did they not also die ?
The Moment is ; the After or Before
Hides all from sight. Canst thou tell more than I ?
What matters if to-night come swirling snow
And Death ? The Power that makes, that mars, is One.
I know nor care not ; when that Power bids blow
I ope my curlèd petals to the sun.
Ednah Proctor Clarke.