Robin Red Breast

Rosier than auburn, and
Auburner than rose,
What red exactly is it
Our Robin Red Breast shows?
An orangy-red, but redder
Than any orange I’ve seen;
Not carrot and not pumpkin,
Not yam or tangerine,
But less than cherry-red by far,
Or leaf of autumn maple,
Not garnet pomegranate red,
Nor any summer apple.
No Lady Gaga lipstick red,
No teenager fuchsia,
No oriental obi
Of garish, gaudy geisha.
‘Tis not the scandal scarlet
That punished Hester Prynne,
Nor ruby-slipper magic red,
Nor colleges’ maroon.
It’s not French or Italian
Burgundy in mood,
Nor our native grosbeak’s
Bib of vivid blood.
Far from cardinal crimson,
It has no royal feel
As carmine or vermillion
Or precious cochineal.
The smitten cheek is redder;
His is no angry red;
No bloody foes dismay him,
No panic, angst, or dread.
And blushing cheek is paler;
He’s never ill at ease.
His busy, blithe insouciance
Has just himself to please.
More the red of plowmen,
It is a workman’s hue,
A muddy, rusty, ruddy red,
Sir Rud Breast... that is you.