Ina Coolbrith

1841 – 1928 / Nauvoo, Illinois

Christmas Roses

O Ye laggard comers
Of the rosy summers!
Dear, delicious vagrants,
Hives of hoarded fragrance,
Through the golden
Days of balm and bloom, to open wide,
Wondering, dewy eyes at Christmas-tide!

Now that day grown chill is
Come the calla-lilies,
Lifting, row on row,
Hoods of scented snow-
Fit for holiest altar,
Psalm and psalter:
Vestal-nuns your courtly robes beside,
Truants of sunshine, waifs of summer-tide!

Welcome, joy's sweet keepers!
Balmy little sleepers
Through the night and noon
Of your vanished June.
Glad the sky that thrills you,
Bird that trills you!
Fairer than to bridegroom comes the bride,
O sacred roses of the Christmas-tide!
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