Rose Petal

You came to me from rose vermilion red;
so rude and flushed with health you seemed to be.
I was surprised when I discerned instead
your disposition was no longer free;
that, whilst you were so moist and soft, I then
with sadness realised your life was spent;
that you had chosen me for your amen
between your zenith and your final rent.

What price for love you had to pay, and stain
upon your beauteous journey through short life,
so full of human tragedy and pain;
so savaged by our ugliness and strife.

And yet, you gift us your perfume unkempt
and beauty, which our hideousness preempts.

© 2011 John Anstie

(Read the author’s commentary on this poem)

About PoetJanstie

“Life is short and art long, the crisis fleeting, experience penniless and decision difficult” ~ Hippocrates. As a young man, John was sporting and fit. It was then as much his recreational therapy as a cappella harmony singing, music, walking in the hills and writing is now. Playing Rugby Union for over twenty years, encouraged in the early days by a school that was run on the same lines and ethos as that famous Scottish public school, Gordonstoun, where our own headmaster had been as a senior master. This gave shape and discipline to a sometimes precarious early life. His fitness was enhanced not only by playing rugby, but also by working part time jobs in farming, as a leather factory packer and security guard, but probably not helped, for a short time, selling ice cream! His professional working life was spent as a Metallurgical Engineer, Marketing Manager, Export Sales Manager, Implementation Manager and Managing Director of his own company. Thirty five years spent, apparently in a creative desert, raising a family, pursuing a career and helping to pay the bills, probably enriched his experience, because his renaissance, on retirement, realised a hidden creative talent as a writer of prose and poetry. He also enjoys music, with a piano and a fifty-two year old Yamaha FG140 acoustic guitar. He sings bass in three a cappella harmony groups: as a founding member of a mixed voice chamber choir, Fox Valley Voices and barbershop quartets. He is also a member of one of the top barbershop choruses in the UK, Hallmark of Harmony (stage name of the Sheffield Barbershop Harmony Club), who, for the eighth time in 41 years, became UK Champions in 2019. He is also a would be (once upon a time or 'has been') photographer with drawers full of his own history, and an occasional, but lapsed 'film' maker. In his other life, he doubles as a Husband, Father, Grandfather, Brother, Uncle, Cousin, Friend and Family man. What he writes is sometimes autobiographical, often political, sometimes dark and frequently pins his colours to the mast of climate change and how a few humans are trashing the Earth. In 2013, he published an anthology of the poetry (including his own) of an international group of poets, who met on Twitter in 2011. He produced, edited and steered the product of this work, "Petrichor Rising", to publication by Aquillrelle. His sort of strap-line reads: “ iWrite iSing iDance iChi iVolunteer ”
This entry was posted in conservation, Hope, Love, nature, nostalgia, poem, poetry, political, sadness, Sonnet, wisdom and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Rose Petal

  1. Gael Bage says:

    thank you for sharing this John, happy to read the commentary behind the poem too, lovely. 🙂


  2. I also appreciated your commentary, it added another layer of depth.


    • PoetJanstie says:

      Thank you Anna. I have always tried to write commentaries on my poems, as much for my own record as for informing readers of the background. It has always been a source of fascination for me to read a poem or listen to the lyrics of a song and wonder what was behind the words and phrases used by the writer. To understand every nuance in tone gives a different perspective. However, sometimes, leaving it to the reader to make their own interpretation, is also important.


  3. marousia says:

    Love this – the rose is such a laden symbol 🙂 I love the way you used a metre – it so subtle


  4. Anonymous says:

    An exquisite and insightful poem, John! And even without reading the background behind the poem, one can see so many analogies of life in this poem.


  5. knightsheart says:

    A rose – sacrificed for us. Great write before the poem. I enjoyed the poem as well. Thank you for sharing them both.


  6. Kim Nelson says:

    I could not help but consider myself the rose (although not as beautiful!) I fell in love at 17, still married to that man at 51. I have given my all… I would do it again and again. It is a wondrous way to offer up this brief sojourn on earth. Not sad at all… precious. 😉


    • PoetJanstie says:

      Well thank you so much for your comment, Kim. It is so good to hear, in a world full of dislocated relationships, of life-long love. I met mine at 21 and we celebrated 37 years of marriage this year. I do consider “Rose Petal” to be very life affirming. I try to be so in anything that I write, whether poetry or prose. I hope you read the rather long commentary?


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