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To a female scarlet tanager


The green woods of spring

Bud the first scarlet tanager—


That sacred heart of the May

Back from the Andes

In his miracle red-ripeness.


And you are the shadowing

Cinderella of this Royal Prince,


The Vestal tending this orange fire,


Wearing but a dim reflection

Of the brilliance

Searing his wings and tail,


An unripe yellowish-green


Unseen because unlooked-for—


You wear our scarlet tanager

Like a married name.


But today,

When you both alighted

On a bough before me,


It was you I considered,

My sister of remotest relations,


You and our shared devotion

To this living flame before us—


Yours with the full force of life,

Mine but a lovely echo of Eros,


And though reason

Would have its say,


I was suddenly suffused

With amazement


That we both believed

He was beautiful—


That with a female scarlet tanager

I shared an aesthetic taste.



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