A Lover's Messengers

by Arlo Bates

Arlo Bates

The earliest flowers of spring
To thee, beloved, I bring:
Anemone and graceful adder's-tongue,
With golden cowslips, yellow as the sun
And fresh as brooks by which they sprung;
Sweet violets that we love; and, one by one,
The blossoms that come after,--cherry blossom
And snow of shad-bush, willful columbine
In pale red raiment, and the milky stars
Of chickweed-wintergreen; slim walnut buds
In satin sheen, and furry curling ferns,
Like owlets half awake; with floods
Of alder tassels that drop dust of gold
On the dark pools where, 'twixt the bars
Of piercing sunbeams, speckled troutlings dart.
And thus until the jocund year is old
And frosts spin cerements, white and chill,
O'er all the woodlands, fold on fold,
I tell the days with flowers, to mind thee still
Who, kind to blossoms, to me cruel art,
How swift is time, how constant is my heart.

Last updated May 13, 2023