The Revenant

The Revenant

The scarlet roses quiver in the wind :
See how they wanton it! They nod , they sway —
Rose of the world , would that my soul had sinned
In thinking you as fair and false as they .

So silken-soft , so delicate , so sweet ,
Rose of the world , my rose without a thorn!
Your soul black-spotted , cankered with deceit
Unfittingly to that fair shape was born .

Spread no silk petals to bewitch my gaze ,
Think not to drowse my soul in scented bliss :
Rose of the world , I come not now to praise ,
Not now to scorn all heaven for a kiss —

In mercy with this message am I sent :
‘Rose of the world , the winter comes : repent .’

22 September 1952

[On the reverse of The Widower’s Friend You mourn her now ? My fate is no less hard]