Last Words of a Rose

There was an emptiness
in the air as I clung to the stem,
a thorned rose who trusted
scissors would never bleed me
into water and glass to die
on a shelf without ever
tasting moonlight again.
Hands smooth as my red petals
hovered over my face in a butterfly pause
I felt I would escape…my imperfection
too obvious to an eye determined
to ribbon me among snow cheeked lilies.
Yet separation came in a determined cut
that divided me from my sister blossoms
and the root hum of mother earth.
With why clipped from my tongue
I became little more than a trophy,
a pretty “thing” to be admired,
a handmaid of ego that sought praise
while calculating how long I’d survive
in the vinegar of artificial rain.
Intention or not, when wilting came, I was pulled
through the throat of the vase.
I did not succumb to the fate of a plastic shroud,
but was gently lain on green grass
by a small hand amongst a dandelion rosary.
©Susie Clevenger 2022



  1. Susie, so lovely to see you at earthweal. Your poem is so beautiful and sad. I am glad she was lain, not in a plastic shroud, but gently on green grass. I love the dandelion rosary.

  2. Such potent words. The line, 'who trusted
    scissors would never bleed me' stood out to me. Thank you.

  3. So much that we do without thought.

  4. Your work with the metaphor is exquisite here, Susie--life, death and grief and every broken heart once a growing, living rose. There is sadness and loss, and also redemption in that last stanza.

  5. The palpable grief of separation beautifully written. thanks for sharing.

  6. This is wrenching Susie, heart and soul. Brilliant imagery my friend. Your 2 closing stanza were so engaging. I was gripped by sadness.

  7. The distaff syntax -- a sort of half-lit flowing is-ness through the stanzas -- makes it easier for the reader to identify with the mind of fragrance cut at the throat to adorn.

  8. The rose to me is significant in life, love and loss. One can relate to the beauty and the pain. The part of being put to rest by the dandelions just made me weep.

  9. The personification of the rose is so poignant - especially 'the vinegar of artificial rain' and the gentle ending.

  10. Sigh.... this is absolutely gorgeous Susie!!


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