Across the meadow, swept by gusty showers,
Among the dingy drifts of crusted snow,
They make their way, the vanguard of the flowers,
Cheered on by Spring, the herald of the show.
The Lilies, draped in white and yellow folds,
With starry eyes smile coyly as they pass;
Behind them come the buxom Marigolds,
Their verdant vehicle trimmed with greening grass.
And then, their purple spears held high,
The booted Shooting-stars march by.
Anemones toss petals by the way.
The storm clouds thin, and sunbeams straggle forth
To wave the snowbanks back with gestures gay,
And urge the floral flood to greater girth.
The swelling breeze strikes up a stronger chord
Upon its canyon organ. Skipping by
Come scarlet Pentstemons, and then a horde
Of bonnet-hidden Lupines, blue as sky;
And Paintbrush legions, tall and grave
A million orange banners wave.
Behind them wave the Basket-grass brigades;
Their tassled, creamy plumes gleam in the sun;
While Louseworts, in a myriad of shades,
And Mimulus, and Columbines stream on.
The Asters hold their purple sunshades high,
As fragrant Fireweeds flame 'round the turn,
And fragile Gentians lift up to the sky
Their cups of indigo, all trimmed with fern.
Then shy Parnassus, white and cream,
Trips lightly by, a dainty dream.
The autumn sunset glows, yet still they come,
Pale Everlasting dressed in glistening pearls;
Senecio and Epilobium;
And Golden Asters toss their powdered curls.
They hasten on, for night is drawing near.
The floats, bedecked with cones, of Fir and Pine,
And bold Vine-maple, bringing up the rear,
Its banners, bright as gold and red as wine
Flash in the evening breath so chill
Of winter, coming o'er the hill.