One red rose bud upon Life’s thorny tree,
Like a closed gate unto dominions bright,
Which Time shall open with his Key of light,
Beside that gate I kneel, a devotee,
And hear the hidden priests their chants intone,
Within the mystic inner temple where
The heart of all the Universe beats, bare,
Thro’ parting portals, O red rose half blown!
To-morrow pirate winds will spread their wings,
Their soft sail-wings of faery gossamer,
And, jealous, I shall hear thro’ drone and whirr,
The slumbrous serenade the brown bee sings,
One last, last, hot red sunset, beauteous close
Of cycled song, that sinks into a sob
Of funeral zephyrs, wailing as they rob,
Petal by petal, my red, full blown rose.
Shall it be so, bright talisman? Shall I,
Soul-sickened, see thy full-orbed bloom decline?
Nay! With thy rich heart brimmed with Nature’s wine,
I pluck thee now! I cannot watch thee die!
Marie E. J. Pitt, The Horses of the Hills and Other Verses, Melbourne: Specialty Press, 1911, page 102