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Willow buds in burnished sheath,
And the fruit tree's snowy wreath--
All are safely shut away,
Waiting till the touch of May.


Other life as fair as theirs
In the long, long waiting shares,
Shut in cell of hodden gray,
Waiting till the touch of May.


While the blasts of winter sweep,
Here strange beauty lies asleep;
Closed alike to frost and sun--
House and bed and garment one.


But when prisoned leaf-buds fling
Their light banners to the spring,
In the selfsame joyous hour
Shall go forth a wing├Ęd flower.