The red rose beneath the skin
Beneath the skin, blood beats,
sometimes bitter, sometimes black.
Let it lie. The red always returns,
like the rose after the rain.
There’s a picture in the sky, ship in a storm,
white sails torn to shreds
by this brisk wind from the sea.
Cloud wisps scatter like petals.
Soon there’ll be nests in the hedge,
and among the honeysuckle flowers
the blue of a robin’s eggs. Spring marches,
an unstoppable force.
As are all, the goddess says
in her antique voice running with honey.
As are all mists and men, ephemeral
as sleep, as the song of the first thrush.
They say it comes from the north pole,
this cold full of gnashing wolf-teeth,
nights black as the pits of hell, but I know,
it is only the shadow of the rising sun.