O dainty bud, I hold thee in my hand—
A castaway, a dead, a lifeless thing.
A few days since I saw thee, wet with dew,
A bud of promise to thy parent cling,
Now thou art crushed yet lovely as before,
The adverse winds but waft thy fragrance more.
How small, how frail! I tread thee underfoot
And crush thy petals in the rocking ground:
Perchance some one in pity for thy state
Will pick thee up in reverence profound—
Lo, thou art pure with virtue more intense,
Thy perfume grows from earthly detriments.
Why do we grieve? Let each affliction bear
A greater beauty springing from the sod,
May sweetness well as incense from the urn,
Which, rising high, enshrouds the throne of God.
Envoy of Hope, this lesson I disclose—
“Be Ever Sweet,” thou humble, fragrant rose!
This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on July 5, 2020 by the Academy of American Poets.