A Wait at the End of Winter

hothouse flower


By John Malcolm Brinnin


What reasons may the single heart employ

When, forward and impervious, it moves

Through savage times and science toward the joy

Of love’s next meeting in a threatened space?

What privilege is this, whose tenure gives

One anesthetic hour of release,

While the air raid’s spattered signature displays

A bitter artistry among the trees?


Thus, in our published era, sweetness lives

And keeps its reasons in a private room;

As, in the hothouse, white hibiscus proves

A gardener’s thesis all the winter through,

So does this tenderness if waiting bloom

Like tropics under glass, my dear, for you.

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