The Darling Buds- Wild Rose

We were too cold for roses

Or, at least, the delicate roses

Made poor friends with the early frost

But there were always the wild roses

In strange patches and places

They told us the roses grew where bodies were buried

(The more boring explanation was that was where

The warring neighbours dumped their compost

When they were in a fight over where the property lines

Ended)

And, certainly, they bloomed in that eerie

No man’s land – too windy for trees,

Too exposed for shrubs

A heavenly smell that lured small creatures

And small children

All of us fumbling through the thorns

To reach the buds

As we left

I always shuddered a little at the red in the light

In the veins of the petals

Rubbed the cuts on my arms and legs

They may not have started with bodies

But it is hard to touch a rose bush

Once it has gotten a taste

For blood

IMG_1331Wild Rose: Pleasure and Pain

Beauty comes in dangerous packages. Every May, I do a series of poems based on Victorian flower meanings. Welcome to the Darling Buds.


For more obvious and less obvious thorns, my fantasy novel, The Guests of Honor, is available here. Its sequel, With Honor Intact, can be found here.

The Taste of History

They are the roses of the dead.

The air around them tastes of spice and stories, forgotten and half-remembered.

No teacup roses, here.

The soil is too poor, the winters too hard, for fragility.

False or true.

These roses grew on the skeletons of dead dreams-

On abandoned barns and half-buried homesteads-

The remaining flash of colour once people and settlement passed.

History is a living, breathing creature.

It worms its way through the scars on the landscape,

Burrows into the ocean’s flotsam,

Rises out of the scent of feral flowers.

Words are a poor substitute for the world that was-

To understand what has passed,

It is important to close one’s eyes,

And taste the stories of abandoned gardens.

IMG_9769A delicacy carrying a hundred years in its scent

The weight of the past has the strangest bearers.


For more interaction of the past and the present, my fantasy novel, The Guests of Honor, is available here. Its sequel, With Honor Intact, can be found here.