Verse > Emily Dickinson > Complete Poems > II. Nature > 66. “There is a flower that bees prefer”

Emily Dickinson (1830–86).  Complete Poems.  1924.

Part Two: Nature


THERE is a flower that bees prefer,
And butterflies desire;
To gain the purple democrat
The humming-birds aspire.
And whatsoever insect pass,        5
A honey bears away
Proportioned to his several dearth
And her capacity.
Her face is rounder than the moon,
And ruddier than the gown        10
Of orchis in the pasture,
Or rhododendron worn.
She doth not wait for June;
Before the world is green
Her sturdy little countenance        15
Against the wind is seen,
Contending with the grass,
Near kinsman to herself,
For privilege of sod and sun,
Sweet litigants for life.        20
And when the hills are full,
And newer fashions blow,
Doth not retract a single spice
For pang of jealousy.
Her public is the noon,        25
Her providence the sun,
Her progress by the bee proclaimed
In sovereign, swerveless tune.
The bravest of the host,
Surrendering the last,        30
Nor even of defeat aware
When cancelled by the frost.


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