I sought — I — in my gown of silk
For a blossom that I might wear,
Dew-wet lilies as white as milk,
Should I twine them in my hair?
But the pallor that lay on their ivory tips
Was the hue that flashed to thy stern shut lips
When I wrenched our hands apart,
And I turned away, with a sob in my throat,
For out from the petals there seemed to float
The wraith of thy wounded heart.
Then I turned, and my smile came back again
As I plucked me a yellow rose,
No ghostly phantom of buried pain
Could its sun-kissed leaves enclose,
But it stabbed me deep, for its yellow gloss
Was the same rich hue as the golden dross
With which my soul was bought,
And I crushed it under a passionate heel
As a loathly thing that should know and feel
The evil it had wrought.
Then I ran — I — in the dewy night
And I sought some sweet, wild thing —
Some wayside blossom, frail and bright,
That could not hold a sting.
And mine eyes were dim, for my tears fell fast,
But I gathered a fair field-flower at last,
And my heart within was hot
As I trembling drew to the lighted room,
A ghost looked out from the turquoise bloom —
I had plucked a forget-me-not!
Agnes L. Storrie. Poems, J. W. Kettlewell, Sydney, 1909, pages 107-108
dross = in general, something regarded as inferior or worthless; in particular, solid impurities found floating on the surface of molten metal
wraith = something insubstantial, shadowy, or vaporous; an apparition or ghostlike image of someone, especially one that appears shortly before someone’s death; a ghost