[Rank Memories I]

When you see old flowers,


Once tended kindly in a bed

Now weed-full and full

Of wild things drifted in

By the feather-laden wind,

Time marks in your mind;

How much of it has passed?


Remember in childhood

The thriving blues and pinks and reds

Of tulips and marigolds and roses

Carefully tended by a woman

Also long dead; a house nearby,

Fallen and ruined; a sun atop its

Decayed roof; two laughing lights

Picking once in the flower bed.


A sort of sorrow exists in seeing

The untended flowers now remembered

As important to a mother-friend;

Living out of struggling weeds;

Living roses remembered.


"There's two come for roses,"

The poet Frost said;

Well, not anymore.

Just one.

Walking familiar country lanes,

Upon one return, I stop to admire

A bed of ancient roses she tended,

Reminding me of sun too, besides us,

Lots of spring sun.

Wild roses, though once tended

With patient endurance,

They remind me of age,

And youth, and death to come.