This poem was part of Howe's collection entitled Passion Flowers (written between 1852-1858), published in her daughters' biography, Julia Ward Howe (1819-1910), which earned Laura E. Richards and Maud Howe Elliott the Pulitzer Prize in 1917.
The wheel is turned, the cards are laid;
The circle's drawn, the bets are made:
I stake my gold upon the red.
The rubies of the bosom mine,
The river of life, so swift divine,
In red all radiantly shine.
Upon the cards, like gouts of blood,
Lie dinted hearts, and diamonds good,
The red for faith and hardihood.
In red the sacred blushes start
On errand from a virgin heart,
To win its glorious counterpart.
The rose that makes the summer fair,
The velvet robe that sovereigns wear,
The red revealment could not spare.
And men who conquer deadly odds
By fields of ice, and raging floods,
Take the red passion from the gods.
Now, Love is red, and Wisdom pale,
But human hearts are faint and frail
Till Love meets Love, and bids it hail.
I see the chasm, yawning dread;
I see the flaming arch o'erhead:
I stake my life upon the red.