The Book of the Rose

by Charles G.D. Roberts


 

LINES FOR AN OMAR PUNCH-BOWL

TO C.B.


 

Omar, dying, left his dust
To the rose and vine in trust.

"Through a thousand springs"—said he,
"Mix your memories with me."

Fire the sap that fills each bud

5

With an essence from my blood.

"When the garden glows with June
Use me through the scented noon,

"Till the heat's alchemic art
Fashions me in every part.

10


"You, whose petals strew the grass
Round my lone, inverted glass,

"Each impassioned atom mould
To a red bloom with core of gold.

"You, whose tendrils, soft as tears,

15

Touch me with remembered years,

"When your globing clusters shine,
Slow distil my dreams to wine,

"Till by many a sweet rebirth
Love and joy transmute my earth,

20


"Changing me, on some far day,
To a more ecstatic clay,

"Whence the Potter's craft sublime
Shall mould a shape to outlast Time."

Omar's body, Omar's soul,

25

Breathe in beauty from this bowl,

At whose thronged, mysterious rim
Wan desires, enchantments dim,

Tears and laughter, life and death,
Fleeing love and fainting breath,

30


Seem to waver like a flame,
Dissolve,—yet ever rest the same,

Fixed by your art, while art shall be,
In passionate immobility.