Sick-room Fancies - Poem by Laura E. Richards



The paper roses, blue and red,
That climbing go about my bed,
All up and down my chamber wall,
A-quarrelling one day did fall;
And as with half-shut eyes I lay,
'Twas thus I heard the roses say:

"You vulgar creature!" cried the Red,
"I wonder you dare raise your head,
Much less go flaunting here and there
With such a proud and perky air.
I am a rose indeed; but _you_!
Who ever heard of roses blue?
Your sense of truth, Ma'am, must be small,
To call yourself a rose at all."

The Blue Rose proudly raised her head;
"Your humble servant, Ma'am!" she said.
"My family, I own, is far
From being such as you, Ma'am, are.
We blossomed lately in the sky,
A fairy plucked us, floating by,
And flung us down to earth, that we
Might show what roses _ought_ to be.
So, while we still adorn the earth,
Our hue attests our skyey birth."

Just then _my_ Rose came through the room;
And in her hand, in wondrous bloom,
A lovely snow-white bud she bore,
With diamond dew-drops sprinkled o'er.
She laid it in my hand, and "See,"
She said, "how fair a rose may be!"
The paper roses, Blues and Reds,
For shame hung down their silly heads.
I watched them, laughing, as I lay,
But not another word said they.



I have a friend, a little friend,
Who lives upon a fan;
Perhaps he is a woman,
Perhaps she is a man.
His clothes they are so very queer,
So _very_ queer, in sooth,
I sometimes call him "lovely maid,"
And sometimes "gentle youth."

Her hair is combed up straight and smooth
Above his pretty face.
His looks are full of friendliness;
Her attitude, of grace.
And every morning when I wake,
And every evening too,
She greets me with his pleasant smile,
And friendly "How-d'ye-do?"

She wonders why I lie in bed;
He thinks my wisest plan
Would be to come and live with her
Upon a paper fan.
But that, alas! can never be;
And so I never can
Know whether he's a woman,
Or whether she's a man.