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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
There was never a sound beside the wood but one,
And that was my long scythe whispering to the ground.
What was it it whispered? I knew not well myself;
Perhaps it was something about the heat of the sun,
Something, perhaps, about the lack of sound—
And that was why it whispered and did not speak.
It was no
poem
I went to turn the grass once after one
Who mowed it in the dew before the sun.

The dew was gone that made his blade so keen
Before I came to view the levelled scene.

I looked for him behind an isle of trees;
I listened for his whetstone on the breeze.

But he had gone his way, the grass all mown,
And I must be
poem
We make ourselves a place apart
     Behind light words that tease and flout,
But oh, the agitated heart
     Till someone find us really out.

’Tis pity if the case require
     (Or so we say) that in the end
We speak the literal to inspire
     The understanding of a friend.

But so with all, from babes that