Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


Amid the Roses

There is tropical warmth and languorous life
    Where the roses lie
    In a tempting drift
Of pink and red and golden light
Untouched as yet by the pruning knife.
And the still, warm life of the roses fair
    That whisper "Come,"
    With promises
Of sweet caresses, close and pure
Has a thorny whiff in the perfumed air.
There are thorns and love in the roses’ bed,
    And Satan too
    Must linger there;
So Satan’s wiles and the conscience stings,
Must now abide—the roses are dead.

Credit


This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on June 16, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem


This poem was originally published in Violets and Other Tales (The Monthly Review, 1895).

Author


Alice Dunbar-Nelson

Alice Moore Dunbar-Nelson was born on July 19, 1875 in New Orleans, Louisiana. She graduated from Straight University in New Orleans and worked as an elementary teacher. She was an activist for civil rights and women's suffrage, as well as a poet, journalist, short-story writer, and playwright. Her works include Violets and Other Tales (Monthly Review, 1895) and The Goodness of St. Rocque and Other Stories (Dodd, Mead and Company, 1899). She married Paul Laurence Dunbar in 1898, though they later separated. She died on September 18, 1935 in Philadelphia. 

Date Published: 1895-01-01

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/amid-roses