Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. V. Nature
Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume V. Nature.  1904.
V. Trees: Flowers: Plants
The Rhodora
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882)
Lines on Being Asked, Whence Is the Flower?

IN May, when sea-winds pierced our solitudes,
I found the fresh rhodora in the woods,
Spreading its leafless blooms in a damp nook,
To please the desert and the sluggish brook:
The purple petals fallen in the pool        5
  Made the black waters with their beauty gay,—
Here might the red-bird come his plumes to cool,
  And court the flower that cheapens his array.
Rhodora! if the sages ask thee why
This charm is wasted on the marsh and sky,        10
Dear, tell them, that if eyes were made for seeing,
Then beauty is its own excuse for being.
  Why thou wert there, O rival of the rose!
I never thought to ask; I never knew,
  But in my simple ignorance suppose        15
The self-same Power that brought me there brought you.

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