not open up my senses
in the city,
I have forgotten how to trust.
Betrayed too often
by cacophony and dust,
I tend to wall myself in quasi-catatonic inner carping,
more's the pity.
But spare the pity,
I have friends of great compassion
who know me well
and will not let me fashion
of my retreat a cell,
- rather a peaceful, permeable citadel.
And so they come and gather me
before my mortar hardens
and take me to a lakeside park
to walk among the fountains
and the flower gardens
and they laugh and smile and nod their heads,
empowering me to walk into the rich, prolific beds
where a delight of smell and sight discloses
roses, roses, only roses.
Roses jovial and merry,
gregarious and solitary;
roses riotous and raucous
in seclusion and in caucus;
blowsy, frowsy roses,
roses without shame
who make no secret of their sensuality
and celebrate their transitory fame.
standing undaunted as each petal falls;
roses that should be painted on black velvet
and hung on brothel walls;
roses that are a put-on of perfection,
dreaming in self-centred introspection;
gentle roses, wicked roses, innocent roses;
roses of generosity and soul so great
I want to jump right in and pollinate;
roses of shyness, roses of valour,
roses suffused, roses of pallor;
roses of carnal undertones
and satin overlay;
roses as spare as desert bones,
roses as lush as Valentine's Day;
roses virginal, serene, angelic;
day-glo roses, neon, psychedelic.
A pot-pourri of roses,
each of them doing its part,
giving the best of its fragrance
out of its occult heart,
breathing raspberry whispers,
sighing cinnamon sighs;
revelations of roses
are redolent and wise;
roses gracious, ostentatious,
bumptious, sumptuous, salacious;
roses fervid and assertive;
roses coy but never furtive;
roses effusive, roses reclusive,
roses plebeian, roses exclusive;
roses insolent and modest.
The most common and the oddest
bring delight and wonder to this place
and restore me to a state of grace.
And, with my faith renewed by roses,
I dare, with careless and unwary daring,
to open, once again, my ears,
here, by a tranquil meditation pond.
And when it hears,
in a naked and unguarded moment,
a finch's song,
trilling compellingly above
the drone of traffic,
the mind rebels at such simplicity,
leaps into silence,
falls into love.