Fulfillment

I GREW a rose once more to please mine eyes.
All things to aid it — dew, sun, wind, fair skies —
Were kindly; and to shield it from despoil,
I fenced it safely in with grateful toil.
No other hand than mine shall pluck this flower, said I,
And I was jealous of the bee that hovered nigh.
It grew for days; I stood hour after hour
To watch the slow unfolding of the flower,
And then I did not leave its side at all,
Lest some mischance my flower should befall.
At last, oh joy! the central petals burst apart.
It blossomed — but, alas! a worm was at its heart!

by Paul Laurence Dunbar

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