You sent me a sprig of mignonette,
Cool-colored, quiet, and it was wet
With green sea-spray, and the salt and the sweet
Mingled to a fragrance weary and discreet
As a harp played softly in a great room at sunset.
You said: “My sober mignonette
Will brighten your room and you will not forget.”
But I have pressed your flower and laid it away
In a letter, tied with a ribbon knot.
I have not forgot.
But there is a passion-flower in my vase
Standing above a close-cleared space
In the midst of a jumble of papers and books.
The passion-flower holds my eyes,
And the light-under-light of its blue and purple dyes
Is a hot surprise.
How then can I keep my looks
From the passion-flower leaning sharply over the books?
When one has seen
The difficult magnificence of a queen
On one’s table,
Is one able
To observe any color in a mignonette?
I will not think of sunset, I crave the dawn,
With its rose-red light on the wings of a swan,
And a queen pacing slowly through the Parthenon,
Her dress a stare of purple between pillars of stone.