The Lovely Grace of Roses

The rose did caper on her cheek,
Her bodice rose and fell,
Her pretty speech, like drunken men,
Did stagger pitiful.

Her fingers fumbled at her work,–
Her needle would not go;
What ailed so smart a little maid
It puzzled me to know,

Till opposite I spied a cheek
That bore another rose;
Just opposite, another speech
That like the drunkard goes;

A vest that, like the bodice, danced
To the immortal tune,–
Till those two troubled little clocks
Ticked softly into one.

Emily Dickinson (J 208)

This love poem of Emily’s tells of two people thrilled to be in the same room together and, somehow, merging into oneness.

It’s hard to believe, but there was a time I didn’t care much for receiving roses. I think I commented to that effect enough that everyone near me caught on and never bought me any.

Then, in 2001, personal tragedies struck and while I waited to hear if my melanoma, recently caught, had spread, and how I would rebuild my life in the wake of sudden changes, they took on powerful new meaning.

I remember, during that time, a trip to the grocery store, stopping at the floral department, enjoying the rose bouquets and purchasing a dozen yellow roses for myself.

I’ll never forget that bouquet, how happy it made me, and how it changed my whole perception of flowers.

In that moment they were grace.

Eleven years later, in a happier place, they are love.

We should all celebrate flowers.

(Photos–my birthday bouquet 2012)

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4 responses to “The Lovely Grace of Roses

  1. Beautiful post, in so many ways.

    My dad was diagnosed with melanoma in 2003. He’ll be 80 years old this year and we pray the melanoma never returns. I wish the same for you!

  2. emilydickinsonsgarden

    Thank you!…and I’m very sorry your dad had it, too. I can’t stress enough to others how vigilant they should be. I didn’t take my changing mole seriously and it could have meant a much worse ending had it not been for my mom insisting I go and taking me to the doctor herself. I hope the best for your father–and hope he lives to be a grand old centenarian!

  3. To find something beautiful again, roses, from a scary situation like yours, is truly wonderful. Flowers have such story in them, don’t they?

    • emilydickinsonsgarden

      Joanne, Why flowers can be so important and powerful to us is a bit of a mystery to me still. Maybe it is their story–from our youngest, most carefree days, we’re out gathering them in the wild and bringing them home to our moms. We’re surprised and delighted by them. The happiness they bring is universal.

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