I Will Ask

A poem by John Frederick Freeman

I will ask primrose and violet to spend for you
Their smell and hue,
And the bold, trembling anemone awhile to spare
Her flowers starry fair;
Or the flushed wild apple and yet sweeter thorn
Their sweetness to keep
Longer than any fire-bosomed flower born
Between midnight and midnight deep.

And I will take celandine, nettle and parsley, white
In its own green light,
Or milkwort and sorrel, thyme, harebell and meadowsweet
Lifting at your feet,
And ivy blossom beloved of soft bees; I will take
The loveliest--
The seeding grasses that bend with the winds, and shake
Though the winds are at rest.

"For me?" you will ask. "Yes! surely they wave for you
Their smell and hue,
And you away all that is rare were so much less
By your missed happiness."
Yet I know grass and weed, ivy and apple and thorn
Their whole sweet would keep
Though in Eden no human spirit on a shining morn
Had awaked from sleep.

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