Wednesday, 4 October 2017


This life’s dim windows of the soul
Distorts the heavens from pole to pole
And leads you to believe a lie
When you see with, not through, the eye.
William Blake

This is not a red rose,
though of course it is,
it is a poet’s heartbeat,
a lover’s desire,

it is the passion that courses through the body
and it is not,

it is just a flower
red because it has been bred
that way — a vehicle for the gardener,
the bee,
and most importantly, the flower,
the seed.

It has thorns — a symbol shouting
love comes in all forms
from joy through the fluid gamut to grief;
the thorns are messengers of this
and they are nought
but thorns
protecting the bush from teeth,
a cow’s, a sheep’s or some other exotic beast
real of course
and the imagined —
the winged female water-buffalo with the maiden’s head who
lives at the edge of the world,
at the Well at the World’s Soul
where all the tears gather;
this beast stares sadly into the well,
sees all possible lovers but her own
and the only fare this beast is known to devour
is the delicate petal and stem
of the rose bush,
particularly the red rose bush — and so the thorns
have been developed to protect the rose from the beast
and not.
They are, after all, just thorns
and the straight stem is not a magical form,
a potent wand, an thrusting phallus, or some such,
but simply a stem of cellulose
to hold the rose erect for the haunting bee - and yes I know
bees do not haunt except for me,
due to the memory of bees in nightmares, tingling still
these many years on, from my childhood

and so that buzz of their wings
as they search for pollen
takes me back to that little bed
and the way my cheap bedrooms walls
sinisterly cracked due to the particle board
instead of more expensive plaster
and all those cracks, caused naturally by the summer’s heat,
became in the otherworld of sleep,
the buzzes of the hunting nightmare bees
that feasted upon my flesh, and the buzzes
haunt still
even in the light of day watching a normal bee
buzz around the very ordinary rose bush

literally in my front garden.

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