Vanity! What say you to a tea-rose,
a tulip, plumped for a measure of gaudy
and scent. Would you fault the bee its lure?
Would you slap the hand that coaxed
such a fulsome bloom from a ditch weary
blossom – wild, drought heavy and pure?
What say you to the rouged cheeks
of young women, to the thumped chests
of young men thus risen by a glance
and red round lips, there spun forth
in the fullness of youth and green stem?
Would you fault them this grace – this dance?
Vanity, Oh, thin vanity, let pollen
be taken where it may and with lust.
Not long will this sun strewn day
nourish their beauty, not long will rain
fatten their root – not long ‘til they wither,
blacken, bend in wind impermanent, they –
they – slender as dusk and white as pain.