Their gaudy dignity a paradox,
their private centers dark but half-exposed,
they open wantonly, not quite enclosed
by painted borders. Roses, mums, or phlox
might be contained, but wild abandon mocks
this frame: each petal sprawls, forthrightly posed
with dazzling pride, all modesty deposed
by blazes that unpinned their ruffled frocks.
Their scarlet fire and inky mystery
ignite the air around them, but reserve
a secret seed of mischief or mad sleep;
and pallid mortals eye them jealously,
for Georgia’s poppies never lose their nerve
and always sow far more than we can reap.