Classic and Contemporary Poetry
TIGER LILY, by WALTER ADOLPHE ROBERTS Poet's Biography
First Line: Gray are the gardens of our celtic lands
Last Line: Spring after spring.
Subject(s): Ireland; Tiger Lilies; Irish
Gray are the gardens of our Celtic lands,
Dreaming and gray,
Tended by the devotion of pale hands,
On barren crags, or by disastrous sands,
That night and day
Are drenched with bitter spray.
There rosemary and thyme are plentiful,
Larkspur that lovers cull,
Love-in-the-mist that is most sorrowful.
Flowers so wistful that our teardrops start....
Scarcely one understands that regal, rare,
Bravely the tiger lily blossoms there,
Our gardens are enamored of the spring,
Of silver rain,
The cloudy green of buds slow-burgeoning,
The sorrow of last apple blooms that cling
And are not fain
To yield their fruit again.
We do not long for tropic pageantry,
Yet surge with love to see
The tiger lily's muted ecstasy.
Watered by mist and lashed by wind-blown rime,
She is no alien thing; but vivid, free,
She has no heed for paler rosemary,
Larkspur or thyme.
It is in vain they worship her who knows
Pity nor pride.
Their petals whirl down every wind that goes
South to the palms or northward to the snows,
Mourning they died
So distant from her side.
But the brave tiger lily blossoms on,
Never to be undone
Till the last rosemary and thyme are gone.
Tattered by autumn storms, she will not fling
Herself to sullen foes. The winter rain
Alone can beat her down, to bloom again
Spring after spring.
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