To a Rosebud

A Poem by Eva A. Jessye

O dainty bud, I hold thee in my hand—
A castaway, a dead, a lifeless thing.
A few days since I saw thee, wet with dew,
A bud of promise to thy parent cling,
Now thou art crushed yet lovely as before,
The adverse winds but waft thy fragrance more.

How small, how frail! I tread thee underfoot
And crush thy petals in the rocking ground:
Perchance some one in pity for thy state
Will pick thee up in reverence profound—
Lo, thou art pure with virtue more intense,
Thy perfume grows from earthly detriments.

Why do we grieve? Let each affliction bear
A greater beauty springing from the sod,
May sweetness well as incense from the urn,
Which, rising high, enshrouds the throne of God.
Envoy of Hope, this lesson I disclose—
“Be Ever Sweet,” thou humble, fragrant rose!

Lines to a Nasturtium

A Poem by Anne Spencer

A lover muses

Flame-flower, Day-torch, Mauna Loa,
I saw a daring bee, today, pause, and soar,
Into your flaming heart;
Then did I hear crisp crinkled laughter
As the furies after tore him apart?
A bird, next, small and humming,
Looked into your startled depths and fled…
Surely, some dread sight, and dafter
Than human eyes as mine can see,
Set the stricken air waves drumming
In his flight.

Day-torch, Flame-flower, cool-hot Beauty,
I cannot see, I cannot hear your fluty
Voice lure your loving swain,
But I know one other to whom you are in beauty
Born in vain;
Hair like the setting sun,
Her eyes a rising star,
Motions gracious as reeds by Babylon, bar
All your competing;
Hands like, how like, brown lilies sweet,
Cloth of gold were fair enough to touch her feet…
Ah, how the senses flood at my repeating,
As once in her fire-lit heart I felt the furies
Beating, beating.

Amid the Roses

A Poem by Alice Dunbar-Nelson

There is tropical warmth and languorous life
       Where the roses lie
       In a tempting drift
Of pink and red and golden light
Untouched as yet by the pruning knife.
And the still, warm life of the roses fair
       That whisper “Come,”
       With promises
Of sweet caresses, close and pure
Has a thorny whiff in the perfumed air.
There are thorns and love in the roses’ bed,
       And Satan too
       Must linger there;
So Satan’s wiles and the conscience stings,
Must now abide—the roses are dead.

The Sun Went Down in Beauty

A Poem by George Marion McClellan

The sun went down in beauty
    Beyond the Mississippi side,
As I stood on the banks of the river
    And watched its waters glide;
Its swelling currents resembling
    The longing restless soul,
Surging, swelling, and pursuing
    Its ever receding goal.

The sun went down in beauty,
    But the restless tide flowed on,
And the phantom of absent loved ones
    Danced on the waves and were gone;
Fleeting phantoms of loved ones,
    Their faces jubilant with glee,
In the spray seemed to rise and beckon,
    And then rush on to the sea.

The sun went down in beauty,
    While I stood musing alone,
Stood watching the rushing river
    And heard its restless moan;
Longings, vague, intenable,
    So far from speech apart,
Like the endless rush of the river,
    Went surging through my heart.

The sun went down in beauty,
    Peacefully sank to rest,
Leaving its golden reflection
    On the great Mississippi’s breast;
Gleaming on the turbulent river,
    In the coming gray twilight,
Soothing its restless surging,
    And kissing its waters goodnight.

The Crimson House

A Poem by Bliss Carman

Love built a crimson house,
I know it well,
That he might have a home
Wherein to dwell.

Poor Love that roved so far
And fared so ill,
Between the morning star
And the Hollow Hill,

Before he found the vale
Where he could bide,
With memory and oblivion
Side by side.

He took the silver dew
And the dun red clay,
And behold when he was through
How fair were they!

The braces of the sky
Were in its girth,
That it should feel no jar
Of the swinging earth;

That sun and wind might bleach
But not destroy
The house that he had builded
For his joy.

“Here will I stay,” he said,
“And roam no more,
And dust when I am dead
Shall keep the door.”

There trooping dreams by night
Go by, go by.
The walls are rosy white
In the sun’s eye.

The windows are more clear
Than sky or sea;
He made them after God’s
Transparency.

It is a dearer place
Than kirk or inn;
Such joy on joy as there
Has never been.

There may my longed-for rest
And welcome be,
When Love himself unbars
The door for me!

Today’s Quote

“Now I will tell you the answer to my question. It is this. The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power, pure power. What pure power means you will understand presently. We are different from the oligarchies of the past in that we know what we are doing. All the others, even those who resembled ourselves, were cowards and hypocrites. The German Nazis and the Russian Communists came very close to us in their methods, but they never had the courage to recognize their own motives. They pretended, perhaps they even believed, that they had seized power unwillingly and for a limited time, and that just around the corner there lay a paradise where human beings would be free and equal. We are not like that. We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now you begin to understand me.”

George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four