The Cardinal Flower
by Arlo Bates
When days are long and steeped in sun
The brown brooks loiter as they run,
And lingering eddy as they flow
Full loth to leave the meadows low ;
For then the cardinal, ablaze
With splendid fires, their fancy stays.
Like a tall Indian maiden, dressed
In scarlet robes, with tranquil breast
That ne’er has known love’s humbling thrall
But haughty queens it over all,
The flower her image mirrored throws,
While proud as beautiful she glows.
She sees the speckled trout dart by,
And swift- winged flit the dragon-fly
Over the brook’s smooth waters dun ;
Naught doth she heed them, all or one ;
Even the sun-god when he woos
With proud indifference she views.
The saucy swallow darts athwart
The topaz brook, but wins him naught
Of notice from the haughty queen.
Wrapped in her beauteous self, serene
She dwells alone, untouched by praise,
Through the brief splendor of her days.