I have flown over flowers of perfume,
Fondled and touched them before,
I have kissed them so often
And hotly,
That their lips seemed unmeaning to mine.

I am haunted by a meaning of petals
Hovering in vain
In the mind,
I am startled by a new significance
The petals convey with their eyes.
I am frightened by a thought that their color
Of purple and white provokes.

I see a red flower,
I smell a white rose,
I pluck them not
By my eyes from the sight of these!
I falter to look into them
And fail to touch them now.

Ah! these eyes and hands that have often
With a gaze, a caress profane, polluted the pure!
What lips are these to speak of flowers,
O! what lips, what lips are these!
Listless lips
Cursed with kisses in moments unholy
Of shame!

I must leave these flowers of morning.
I must leave unprofaned
These petals consecrated
To mothers on earth,
To mothers in heaven.

From purposed forgetfulness
I peep on a dawn of flowers which I
Must not see.
I will sleep to forget them again
As I have forgotten before.

From Manila: A Collection of Verse (Imp. Paredes, Inc., 1926) by Luis Dato. This poem is in the public domain.