the strawberry shrub :: edna st. vincent millay

Strawberry Shrub, old-fashioned, quaint as quinces,
Hard to find in a world where neon and noise
Have flattened the ends of the three more subtle senses ;
And blare and magenta are all that a child enjoys.

More brown than red the bloom—it is a dense colour ;
Colour of dried blood ; colour of the key of F.
Tie it in your handkerchief, Dorcas, take it to school
To smell. But no, as I said, it is browner than red; it is duller
Than history, tinnier than algebra ; and you are colour-deaf.

Purple, a little, the bloom, like musty chocolate ;
Purpler than the purple avens of the wet fields ;
But brown and red and hard and hiding its fragrance ;
More like an herb it is : it is not exuberant.
You must brief a bit : it does not exude ; it yields.