poem index

sign up to receive a new poem-a-day in your inbox

About this Poem 

"Asking for Roses" was published in A Boy's Will (Henry Holt and Company, 1915).

Asking for Roses

A house that lacks, seemingly, mistress and master,
     With doors that none but the wind ever closes,
Its floor all littered with glass and with plaster;
     It stands in a garden of old-fashioned roses.

I pass by that way in the gloaming with Mary;    
     ‘I wonder,’ I say, ‘who the owner of those is.
‘Oh, no one you know,’ she answers me airy,
     ‘But one we must ask if we want any roses.’

So we must join hands in the dew coming coldly
     There in the hush of the wood that reposes,
And turn and go up to the open door boldly,
     And knock to the echoes as beggars for roses.

‘Pray, are you within there, Mistress Who-were-you?’
     ’Tis Mary that speaks and our errand discloses.
‘Pray, are you within there? Bestir you, bestir you!
     ’Tis summer again; there’s two come for roses.

‘A word with you, that of the singer recalling—
     Old Herrick: a saying that every maid knows is 
A flower unplucked is but left to the falling,
     And nothing is gained by not gathering roses.’

We do not loosen our hands’ intertwining
     (Not caring so very much what she supposes),
There when she comes on us mistily shining
     And grants us by silence the boon of her roses.

This poem is in the public domain.

This poem is in the public domain.

Robert Frost

Robert Frost

One of the most celebrated poets in America, Robert Frost was an author of searching and often dark meditations on universal themes and a quintessentially modern poet in his adherence to language as it is actually spoken, in the psychological complexity of his portraits, and in the degree to which his work is infused with layers of ambiguity and irony.

by this poet

poem
The line-storm clouds fly tattered and swift,  
  The road is forlorn all day,  
Where a myriad snowy quartz stones lift,  
  And the hoof-prints vanish away.  
The roadside flowers, too wet for the bee,
  Expend their bloom in vain.  
Come over the hills and far with me,  
  And be my love in the rain.  
  
The
poem

A neighbor of mine in the village
    Likes to tell how one spring
When she was a girl on the farm, she did
    A childlike thing.

One day she asked her father
    To give her a garden plot
To plant and tend and reap herself,
    And he said, “Why not?”

In casting

poem
Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers to-day;
And give us not to think so far away
As the uncertain harvest; keep us here
All simply in the springing of the year.

Oh, give us pleasure in the orchard white,
Like nothing else by day, like ghosts by night;
And make us happy in the happy bees,
The swarm dilating round