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 figures in American poetry, Robert Frost was the author of numerous poetry collections, including including New Hampshire (Henry Holt and Company, 1923). Born in San Francisco in 1874, he lived and taught for many years in Massachusetts and Vermont. He died in Boston in 1963.

by this poet

poem

If tired of trees I seek again mankind,
    Well I know where to hie me—in the dawn,
    To a slope where the cattle keep the lawn.
There amid lolling juniper reclined,
Myself unseen, I see in white defined
    Far off the homes of men, and farther still
    The graves of men on an

poem
Lovers, forget your love,
     And list to the love of these,
She a window flower,
     And he a winter breeze.

When the frosty window veil
     Was melted down at noon,
And the cagèd yellow bird
     Hung over her in tune,

He marked her through the pane,
     He could not help but mark,
And only passed her by
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