A rose is not the only pretty red thing in nature, even if it's one of the first comparisons that come to mind. Blame Robby Burns and the Brothers Grimm.
And, granted, "My luve is like a red red dragonfly" doesn't have quite the same ring to it.
(Although I might have awarded style-points to myself had the odonate insect pictured above been a damselfly. It isn't. Here's how I know. Which leads me farther off this unbeaten track to, "My luve is like a red red odonate, which sweetly buzzed in June.")
"My love's eyes are nothing like the sun, coral is more red than her lip's red." (Thanks, Billy, for that sonnet, number 130). She didn't have access to a cosmetics counter, poor creature, or the fiver to spend on such cheering frippery as a fresh tube of lippy in, say, "Poppy."
And cheeks as red as apples?
Still, it's red I'm seeing. Literal red –– scarlet and blood-red, crimson and carmine, vermillion and cardinal and ruby –– not metaphorical red, though describing it brings me full circle back to what's the reddest thing in the world.
Check the color on these babies:
Of course, who's going to swoon over a line like, "Shall I compare thee to a crabapple"?
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