As softly as the touch of moth's frail wing,
As imperceptibly as falls the dew,
Comes Beauty oft, in dovelike Quaker dress;
But the brave poinciana's vivid challenge
Stirs up like trumpets blaring at high noon,
Her crooked spreading boughs are canopied
By feathery plumes of green, late summer turns
To filigree of thin corroded metal,
Glowing vermilion clusters, like a cloak,
Regally clothe her – opulent Jezebel!
Bold beauty, with the warm winds wantoning!
Chastely near by the while bauhinia blooms.
Softly she croons of delicate fragile beauty,
But a wild shout of colour drowns her song,
Firing out blood, defying writer's pen
Or artist's brush its glory to describe!
No life lived in thy flow, O Leaping Flame,
Could lifeless be, pallid with poverty –
Deadened by grim monotonous routine,
When startled eyes may lift to such a feast
Of colour, glowing mid grey iron roofs.
And as I share the flow which lights the drabness,
All the protesting Puritan in me
Drowns in this flood of sensuous pagan splendour.
Emily Bulcock (1945)