I came across this gorgeous rosebud recently: a vivid splash of colour on an essentially monochrome day.

single flame-coloured rose bud
The weather had been erratic and I was sure there would be a storm within a few hours that would destroy the flower’s perfection; I wondered fleetingly whether the house owners would miss it if I “removed” it before that could happen. Instead, I settled for taking pictures.

Yesterday, a friend asked how I knew when my poems were finished. We pondered Paul Valéry’s idea that poems are never completed, only abandoned, and briefly mooted the idea of setting up a home for abandoned poems. Perhaps that’s what poetry magazines are.

The scene that prompted me to write this poem occurred over thirty years ago, and the poem was already old when it first found a home in The Coffee House magazine in 2003. At the time, I think it must have had a title, but that seems to have been lost.

I remember a summer evening

when you brought me roses,

full-blown, blowzy,

stolen from a neighbour’s garden.

I laughed, 

and listened to your promises

as you crushed the falling petals


I still like the idea, but I’m sure that after nearly twenty years I could do better, so I’m tempted now to go back to it and start tinkering again. Something tells me I should resist the temptation to steal from the past as I rejected that brief kleptomanic impulse to steal the rose bud. Only time will tell whether I succumb.

Author: don't confuse the narrator

Exploring the boundary between writer and narrator through first person poetry, prose and opinion

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