Ode to the Last Remaining Flowers

The Last Chrysanthemum
By Thomas Hardy

Why should this flower delay so long 
To show its tremulous plumes? 
Now is the time of plaintive robin-song
When flowers are in their tombs. 

Through the slow summer, when the sun 
Called to each frond and whorl 
That all he could for flowers was being done, 
Why did it not uncurl? 

It must have felt that fervid call 
Although it took no heed
Waking but now, when leaves like corpses fall, 
And saps all retrocede. 

Too late its beauty, lonely thing, 
The season’s shine is spent, 
Nothing remains for it but shivering 
In tempests turbulent. 

Had it a reason for delay, 
Dreaming in witlessness 
That for a bloom so delicately gay 
Winter would stay its stress

– I talk as if the thing were born 
With sense to work its mind; 
Yet it is but one mask of many worn 
By the Great Face behind.

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