Afternoon      

 
The red and yellow roses

Above a lichened wall

Glow from within and dower

This grey unsummer day

With warmth that still discloses

A June not rained away:

Lightly they tumble, fall

Into a sun-swept shower.

 

For now and then the sun

Appears a moment, and often

The wind, distracted, leaves

The sea alone and ranges

Among the roses, one

By one unfolded, changes

Them round, as though to soften

Patterns which sunlight weaves.

 

That wall of sea-smoothed flints

Supports cascades of colour,

As if those roses were

All it existed for:

There, where a fossil glints

From the stone, a more

Than perfect rose grows duller

Fades on the salt-filled air.

 

June to July is tending:

The longest day has passed.

Already the petals fall

In red and yellow showers

Like butterflies, descending

Gently on other flowers.

Already the rose is cast

Down from the lichened wall.