Variations: XVII, by Conrad Aiken

Variations: XVII

Tear the pink rose petal by petal
And let the petals float and fall,
Ravel the golden stamens out,
And last of all,   Shredding its sweetness on the wind,
Turn and laugh and go away,
Forgetting how soft a thing it was,
How brief a thing to stay.   But when white winds have swept your heart
And white tides driven along your veins,
And the continents are yellow with leaves
And the mountains black with rains,   Secretly in your depths of sleep
Among the unresting rocks and roots
A dream, a gleam, a warmth will start,
A whorl of winds and lutes,   And thrusting among the withered leaves
Will burn the purple-pointed flame,
And the rose you slew will light again,
Will light again the same. - Conrad Aiken

Conrad Aiken