Poem – Tulips – Padraic Colum

An age being mathematical, these flowers 

Of linear stalks and spheroid blooms were prized 

By men with wakened, speculative minds, 

And when with mathematics they explored 

The Macrocosm, and came at last to 

The Vital Spirit of the World, and named it 

Invisible Pure Fire, or, say, the Light, 

The Tulips were the Light’s receptacles. 

The gold, the bronze, the red, the bright-swart Tulips! 

No emblems they for us who no more dream 

Of mathematics burgeoning to light 

With Newton’s prism and Spinoza’s lens, 

Or berkeley’s ultimate, Invisible Pure Fire. 

In colored state and carven brilliancy 

We see them now, or, more illumined, 

In sudden fieriness, as flowers fit 

To go with vestments red on Pentecost.

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