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The Great Mother: Red Roses

The Great Mother: “Red Roses,” by A. M. Stephens (taken from A. M. Stephens’ The Rosary of Pan [Toronto: McLelland & Stewart, Publishers, Ltd., 1923], p. 24)

Roses, red roses, from the deep, warm breast
Of Her, whose progeny in Space and Time
Are one with us, Her children, – latest, best
And fairest fruitage of Her prime –

Within thy chaliced heart there glows
The crimson tide of Life. The wine
Of youth, eternal, welling, flows
O’er thy curved rim, incarnadine.

The fragrance of Her tresses, sweet
As tender breezes that o’erflow
The sun-kissed hills at dawn, and meet
And whisper love to buds that blow;

A pulsing flame – a sky that burns –
A sun god’s pyre and altar blent,
Veiled by thy velvet breast that yearns
To spill its gold and be content;

The music of soft rains that beat
With pattering fingers on our doors,
In gusty, flying showers, replete
With memories of the wind-swept moors;

Of tender flesh, the keen, sweet tang;
Of fruitful earth, the warm embrace
That lured the lusty vine which sprang
To bear aloft thy virile grace –

Roses, red roses, jeweled Grails of Love
And Sex – mysterious and more divine
Thy symbols shine on high above
The lilies pale on Mary’s shrine.

The rich, red, torrent of thy life made bold
Since Time began, the hearts of men
To sing of freedom and of joys untold –
Inspired in turn the voice and pen

Of those who know that Love is Power
And Power is Love, beyond the reach
Of mortal minds that halt and cower
Before the truths thy roses teach.

And yet, thy fire is in the bard
Who sings of love or ruthless strife.
Thy flame is in the hearts that guard
The spirit’s growth from life to life

Till forms shall fade and symptoms rest.
The rhythm of thy magic pulse is stilled.
Still flames thy symbol on the breast
Of Isis, Ishtar – mother, matter filled.

The snow-white wonder of Her form divine,
Stretched cruciform with upturned face,
Awaits with radiant joy the coming sign
Of Him, Creation’s Lord, in Time and Space.

Her eyes, eternal wells of loving light,
The Beauty dread and high which Gods can know –
And lo – within Her mighty heart, for Him, enshrined
Roses, red roses ever-blooming glow.

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