The Bird of Paradise (Poem by Edwin John Dove Pratt)

Beautiful Poem


The Bird of Paradise
By Edwin John Dove Pratt


Answer my riddle, will you? Nay,
    Do not toss your head that way,
    With such a ruffle of passion.
I merely asked you who was fleeced
To pay the jeweller and modiste
    For this last word in fashion.
I have a right, if you only knew,
To put this delicate point to you — 
Those sapphires dancing on your crest,
That cluster of rubies on your breast,
That necklace there, those pearls! The price?
Who paid it? Bird of Paradise!

And the only kind of reply that came
Out of that vision of tropical flame
    Was that little ruffle of passion.
A tango of color from scarlet to green
Evolved as I watched the beauty preen
    Her plumes in that maddening fashion.
So I left the Bird of the Garden to call,
This time, upon the Bird of the Hall;
For my temples beat with the throb of fire,
And I could not find in that land of Desire
A cooling wind, or water, or ice
To quench a fever in Paradise.

And the only answer I got in the Hall
Was a glance of repulse from the belle of the Ball,
    With a little ruffle of passion;
Though I had a right to ask, I am sure,
Who sent that tiara for her coiffure,
    And that latest corsage of fashion.
Not those the jewels I gave her to wear,
Not those the drops that hung from her ear;
And my fever burned like a thirst in Sahara,
When that osprey swung above the tiara,
And I knew no wind, nor water, nor ice
Might cool this hell in Paradise.

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