Five roses sat in an ugly vase:
A sad and unhappy looking arrangement.
None of them perfect in any way:
All keeping their faults to their own.
To the table, the first bent its face
In a curious and twisted estrangement
As if ashamed to be among those of its day
And as if letting on to be nothing known.
The second was the most prevalent in its place;
To God knows what we owe its enlargement.
Its petals soft and lose, no longer able to play,
Like a sovereign dejected from her throne.
The third had yet to bloom into grace,
Its velvet lips afraid of infringement.
It was too shy to bring on its sway,
And it held tightly, afraid of what it had yet shown.
The fourth, somewhat like its second counterpace,
Was slowly wilting from alignment,
Its petals dropping out, its debt to pay,
Loosing all it had—all it was prone.
The fifth was a solitary edifice,
Lost of all but a few constringement.
All spread out in a helpless array,
So feeble and all alone.
The sixth itself was the most faulted of all—
No longer with its brethren.
It lay upon the concrete, hidden from view,
As mangled as the caring it stood for.
It was an icon, true and pall,
And either this or whether in,
It was the most tormented of these roses few,
Yet remains the most beautiful evermore.
The five roses remain in the vase,
The vase, ugly and fitting,
For none of these roses hold as much so dear
As the one torn to pieces by peacefulness.
Now all is well and that sixth rose remains,
Its reds contrasted with the black night ground.
It is there yet if the wind hath not taken it off
And rendered it more useful elsewhere.
—October 20, 1999