Poetry Friday: Roses for my Poetry Pals!

poetry friday logoIt’s Poetry Friday!

My friend Tabatha has today’s round-up at her blog, The Opposite of Indifference.

I’ve missed you, PF friends! My blog is still not recovered from its forced transition, but I’m getting used to WordPress little by little. I have a lot to learn!

Carding Mill
Carding Mill

While I’ve been away, I’ve really been *away* — I had a conference for work in Portland, OR, followed by a week’s vacation in British Columbia to visit my sister-in-law. BLISS.

Blue Nile
Blue Nile

I brought you back a bouquet of roses from the breathtaking International Rose Test Garden in Portland. Y’ALL. I couldn’t stop taking pictures.


Cute fact: My husband said, “There’s rose over here named Hermione!” Alas, it was not in bloom and was named after Shakespeare’s Hermione, not Rowling’s.

In the Shakespeare Garden
In the Shakespeare Garden

Roses are a classic flower, though many of the new varieties have very modern names.

Rock 'N' Roll
Rock ‘N’ Roll

So I’ve gathered a bouquet of classic poems for you.


by George Eliot (1890-1880)

You love the roses–so do I. I wish
The sky would rain down roses, as they rain
From off the shaken bush. Why will it not?
Then all the valley would be pink and white
And soft to tread on. They would fall as light
As feathers, smelling sweet; and it would be
Like sleeping and like waking, all at once!

Princess Alexandra of Kent
Princess Alexandra of Kent

Music, When Soft Voices Die

By Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822)

Music, when soft voices die,
Vibrates in the memory—
Odours, when sweet violets sicken,
Live within the sense they quicken.
Rose leaves, when the rose is dead,
Are heaped for the belovèd’s bed;
And so thy thoughts, when thou art gone,
Love itself shall slumber on.
Jean Giono
Jean Giono
The Rose
O Rose, thou flower of flowers, thou fragrant wonder,
Who shall describe thee in thy ruddy prime;
Thy perfect fulness in the summer time;
When the pale leaves blushingly part asunder
And show the warm red heart lies glowing under?
Thou shouldst bloom surely in some sunny clime,
Untouched by blights and chilly Winter’s rime,
Where lightninggs never flash, nor peals the thunder.
And yet in happier spheres they cannot need thee
So much as we do with our weight of woe;
Perhaps they would not tend, perhaps not need thee,
And thou wouldst lonely and neglected grow;
And He Who is All-Wise, He hath decreed thee
To gladden earth and cheer all hearts below.
Twilight Zone
Twilight Zone
Another by Rossetti …
The Lily Has a Smooth Stalk
The lily has a smooth stalk,
Will never hurt your hand;
But the rose upon her briar
Is lady of the land.
There’s sweetness in an apple tree,
And profit in the corn;
But lady of all beauty
Is a rose upon a thorn.
When with moss and honey
She tips her bending briar,
And half unfolds her glowing heart,
She sets the world on fire.
I love that this garden is free, and that someone could escape the urban grit to read on a Saturday morning amidst the blooms.
Of course, no mention of rose poems would be complete without Robert Burns’ “My Love is Like a Red, Red Rose.” I’m particularly fond of an old choral arrangement, because when I was in high school, the All-State Choir sang it. But while searching YouTube for something entertaining, I happened upon a wry Scottish musician I’ve seen perform . . . but I didn’t know he’d impersonated Robert Burns. So here’s a folksy rendition of the poem, slightly altered to be gender neutral.

Author: Keri

11 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: Roses for my Poetry Pals!

  1. What a gorgeous bouquet, Keri! Thank you for getting us to stop and smell the roses today. I want to reread them all. I think the first Rossetti poem might be my favorite. (I wish the Rock N Roll rose had a prettier name! Stunning flower.)

    1. Thanks, Tabatha! I wonder how one applies for the job of Namer — the person who names roses, nail polish colors, paint chips, etc. I think it could be great fun.

  2. How beautiful all the poems are, and the song AND the pictures. I inherited the garden in my new home, & think I must have the rock ‘n roll roses. All blooms gone now, but they were lovely. I like that picture of the person reading-it is a special place. Thanks, Keri!

    1. The Rock ‘N’ Roll roses are certainly very unique — what an interesting idea to inherit a garden and wonder what is going to pop up come springtime. Here in MS, they say if you’re walking in the woods and come upon a stand of daffodils, there once was a homestead there. My husband has stumbled on some interesting discoveries in his line of work, including an abandoned cemetery from the 1700s!

  3. Seems to me your new blog is coming together really nicely, Keri. I love the beautiful background, and I also love all the gorgeous roses you brought for us today. The Eliot is probably my favorite: “Like sleeping and like waking, all at once!” What’s not to love?

    1. Thanks, Michelle! It’s definitely a work in progress. I was able to print about 6 months of posts from the old version of the blog, so at some point I hope to go back and fix what I can.

  4. You had me at “Y’ALL.”

    Wow. What a sensory post. I could actually SMELL the roses as I scrolled through. And all those different poetic peeks at roses. MMMmmm…bliss.

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