This is not a Rose

In 1929, Rene Magritte revolutionized the way people saw images by painting “The Treachery of Images” – a painting of a pipe with the words “Ceci n’est pas une pipe.” (this is not a pipe) underneath. The message is incredibly profound: what you see is not a pipe. It is simply an image of a pipe.

For this week’s Last Week’s Poetry, I wrote a piece that deals with similar thoughts. We attribute so much meaning to different things, and often our meaning stems not from the thing itself, but from how it is presented and what we associate with it.

This Rose

This rose is not a rose so much as it
is freedom in a flower given me
while I pursue the light of roses lit
and burning as they’re rent from their home tree

This rose is not a rose because it’s red
It’s not a flower for its petaled sight
I cherish it for things you showed and said
instead of loving it for its own light

This rose is not a rose I still declare
It may be fair, it may be bright and still
but roses for their own sake own no flair
They merely grow and prick my hands at will

This rose is not a rose because I love
this rose more than the flowers bunched that day
For none did meet my hands, which held above
were empty in their own thorn-broken way

But know this rose is much more than a rose
because you were the one who handed me
this rose, already falling like it knows
that destined things don’t always have to be

But destined things mean more when we decide
to take them in our hands though they bear thorns
that prick us and make us give up our pride
and weather love through hardship and through storms

This rose is not a rose but like myself
it clings to you; it needs no earthly wealth

Oct 12/15, henna on skin, GIMP edits added

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