The Great War

from Late Songs, an electronic edition

The Vision of Mary

There's a white rose on the thorn,

A red rose on the tree,

And Christ is born on Christmas morn

That all men may go free.

The white rose for Mary,

The red rose for her Son;

When she came down through the sleeping town,

The red and white were one.

Curled like a little moon

He shone amid the hay,

The stars forsake their heavenly track

To sing him lullalay.

She kneels for to adore

The earth and Heaven's Desire.

Oh, what is this beneath her kiss

Throbs like a little fire?

In each small hand she sees

A red rose-petal lie,

And while she sees hath little ease

Lest Herod should draw nigh.

And when on each small foot

She sees the red-rose stain,

She would snatch him fast unto her breast

Lest he in snares be ta'en.

Oh, when she sees the smirch

Of the red rose on His side,

What sword is in her heart; what dart

That will not be denied?

What coronal of gems,

Of ruby or coral spine,

Now, now is laid on His pretty head,

With His sweet curls doth twine

His Mother stoops to kiss

The wounds of her Baby Son;

In dreams she sees a high trellis

And one red rose thereon.

The sword turns in her heart,

She clasps Him warm and close,

With lullaby-loo His fret unto

She lulls her Destined Rose.