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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