One Poem by Jan Harris

Written in response to this month’s Special Challenge.

Untitled poem circa 2108

after Gather Ye Rosebuds While Ye May, John William Waterhouse, 1908

Did ye gather rosebuds, for they no longer bloom,
nor any flowers?
               And we would not wish to see them in a bowl,
but in a garden, breathe their lovely scent, and in a mirror
see their colours in our cheeks and lips, as in your own.

But we are pale and withered as our world, where only trees and rushes,
sedges, grasses grow,
their pollen carried by the wind.
                                                          We know not the velvet bee,
who dipped her head in petal cups to sip sweet nectar there,
or butterflies that settled like a leaf and then away,
or those ye said were pests;
                                           come, pester we!

And if, by nature’s miracle, a damask rose still grows
where soil persists, we will not cut her stems like ye,
but press our hands around them
till thorns dig deep in flesh, like stings.


Jan Harris lives in Nottinghamshire and writes poetry, flash fiction and short stories. Her work has appeared in places such as Ink Sweat and Tears, Mslexia, Envoi and Acumen.

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