Rose Pink am I, the colour gleams and glows
In many a flower; her lips, those tender doors
By which, in time of love, love's essence flows
From him to her, are dyed in delicate Rose.
Mine is the earliest Ruby light that pours
Out of the East, when day's white gates unclose.
On downy peach, and maiden's downier cheek
I, in a flush of radiant bloom, alight,
Clinging, at sunset, to the shimmering peak
I veil its snow in floods of Roseate light.
Mine is the heavenly hue of Azure skies,
Where the white clouds lie soft as seraphs' wings,
Mine the sweet, shadowed light in innocent eyes,
Whose lovely looks light only on lovely things.
Mine the Blue Distance, delicate and clear,
Mine the Blue Glory of the morning sea,
All that the soul so longs for, finds not here,
Fond eyes deceive themselves, and find in me.
Hail! to the Royal Red of living Blood,
Let loose by steel in spirit-freeing flood,
Forced from faint forms, by toil or torture torn
Staining the patient gates of life new born.
Colour of War and Rage, of Pomp and Show,
Banners that flash, red flags that flaunt and glow,
Colour of Carnage, Glory, also Shame,
Raiment of women women may not name.
I hide in mines, where unborn Rubies dwell,
Flicker and flare in fitful fire in Hell,
The outpressed life-blood of the grape is mine,
Hail! to the Royal Purple Red of Wine.
Strong am I, over strong, to eyes that tire,
In the hot hue of Rapine, Riot, Flame.
Death and Despair are black, War and Desire,
The two red cards in Life's unequal game.
I am the Life of Forests, and Wandering Streams,
Green as the feathery reeds the Florican love,
Young as a maiden, who of her marriage dreams,
Still sweetly inexperienced in ways of Love.
Colour of Youth and Hope, some waves are mine,
Some emerald reaches of the evening sky.
See, in the Spring, my sweet green Promise shine,
Never to be fulfilled, of by and by.
Never to be fulfilled; leaves bud, and ever
Something is wanting, something falls behind;
The flowered Solstice comes indeed, but never
That light and lovely summer men divined.
I were the colour of Things, (if hue they had)
That are hard to name.
Of curious, twisted thoughts that men call "mad"
Or oftener "shame."
Of that delicate vice, that is hardly vice,
So reticent, rare,
Ethereal, as the scent of buds and spice,
In this Eastern air.
On palm-fringed shores I colour the Cowrie shell,
With its edges curled;
And, deep in Datura poison buds, I dwell
In a perfumed world.
My lilac tinges the edge of the evening sky
Where the sunset clings.
My purple lends an Imperial Majesty
To the robes of kings.
Gold am I, and for me, ever men curse and pray,
Selling their souls and each other, by night and day.
A sordid colour, and yet, I make some things fair,
Dying sunsets, fields of corn, and a maiden's hair.
Thus they discoursed in the daytime,—Violet, Yellow, and Blue,
Emerald, Scarlet, and Rose-colour, the pink and perfect hue.
Thus they spoke in the sunshine, when their beauty was manifest,
Till the Night came, and the Silence, and gave them an equal rest.
by Adela Florence Cory Nicolson
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