Burnt Roses

This is a picture of a beautiful rose captured by Yvette
                    This image of a beautiful rose was captured by a new friend, Yvette.

                             Merci beaucoup Yvette, cette photo d’une fleur est absolument magnifique ……



Burnt Roses

You picked roses, cut their nursing
stems.  Their cradled, vital blooms
slashed into slow death.  That
crystal vase, a mausoleum, a glass
casket to watch them slowly fade
away, designed to wither and
decay for your enjoyment.
Their petals blacken and you smile.

And what of my heart?  Can
your shears pierce it too,
prop me in a jar and watch my
essence drain away?  Has the
foulness of your death breath
blown upon me?  Do the remnants
of my rotting, sloughing
soul please you?

But roses will die anyway,
at season’s end you say.
What’s a month or two?
Or a decade given to the realm of beauty?
What beauty is that, dearest?
My crystal urn clouds the view,
this misty grey once called my life
grovels upon the shards of it.

I long for what once was,
the glory of that single moment in time
when I lived upon my stem.



© 2011 John Richter

About johnallenrichter

I am an aspiring Poet and adorer of life, a conqueror of nothing. However I am a champion curator of truth and friendship and hold both of those things most dearly to my heart. Welcome to my mind's eye. I hope you will enjoy what you may find and please know that you have a friend here. View all posts by johnallenrichter

31 responses to “Burnt Roses

  • mareymercy

    I especially LOVE that first stanza! Some really lovely imagery here.

  • hedgewitch

    This is excellent–terrific ending, and the whole allegory/metaphor well drawn and synchronized for maximum power. I have a weakness for flower poems anyway, and this one was most pleasing in all ways.

    Also, thanks for your enthusiastic comment on my poem. Much appreciated.

    • johnallenrichter

      Thank you for this humbling critique…. Joy, your poetry humbles me, your sight, your vision, ……… Do you ever wonder what thoughts occur to incredibly talented people, like Peyton Manning, whose ability to throw a football is like poetry itself? Or like this young singer I just discovered, Fever Ray? Oh, I want to know the thoughts that she has, the visions that her soul has as she carries that incredible voice and song around with her…… Those are the thoughts that I have when I read incredible poetry like yours…… Visiting your poetry is entirely my pleasure…….

  • mrsmediocrity

    This is really nice, poignant, even sad, but filled with the truth of life, and the beauty of a rose. Great use of metaphor, imagery to illustrate the point, and a powerful ending.

    • johnallenrichter

      I loved your poem “Silence!” How often those thoughts creep into me…. and your other poem, “Calm Lake,” is equally impressive… I wish I could write like that, to be so descriptive and sincere with so few words, to display the beauty of language and thought and emotion without the sinful verbosity that ravages me…… Thank you for visiting…….

  • claudia

    you know…i almost never manage to cut the roses in my garden and put them in a vase because i hate to see them waste away before their time…what great metaphor here to use the roses for un-rooting others for our own pleasure

  • Wings over waters

    Loved the metaphor ~ a heartfelt poem full of beauty & sadness. Great ending too! Much enjoyed the read, thank you 🙂

    • johnallenrichter

      Thank you dear Wings…… beauty, yes, I see it now that you mention it but it wasn’t on my mind when I wrote this, I’ve never been one to complain about the confines of a relationship, always happy to be loved and to love. I guess this poem came from the misty corners of the mind, that little place we all have, the one that shouts “What if?” Truly a human thing, and all human things are beautiful.. Thank you…….

  • liv2write2day

    John, this is so poignant and a deep reflection on the transience of life. I love roses and on my “to-do” list is needing to go deadhead those that are spent.

    I’m in agreement with your comments on my blog…the ones about the king being stark naked! I am not a fan of obscure poetry but try to search for something to like–an images, some words or an overall feel to each poem I read, especially if I comment on it. As for form poetry, I turn to it when I’m feeling stuck. It seems the discipline helps jump-start my creativity. But the most important thing is meaning and it should never take a back seat to form perfection.

    Thanks for taking time to comment…I’ll be offline for a while now, preparing my novel for the publisher.

  • brian

    this is excellent…harsh…but excellent…ha…the metaphor is great and her response tells much…really well penned man…

    • johnallenrichter

      Hi Brian… yes, a little harsh I think….. Sometimes those things come out, like throwing water on fire. You don’t really have to think about it, it’s just a natural reaction……. I think life is that way too. Sometimes….

  • jenne andrews

    A stunning poem: masterful handling of free verse– thanks a million for visiting me– I especially loved these lyrical lines–

    ..Their cradled, vital blooms
    slashed into slow death. That
    crystal vase, a mausoleum, a glass
    casket to watch them slowly fade
    away, designed to wither and
    decay for your enjoyment.

    Delicious! xxxj

    • johnallenrichter

      Jenne, thank you so much for visiting me….. before I responded here I went briefly to your blog to find your latest piece, “Amphibians.” I’m still speechless though only just a second ago, (unfortunate that I already posted a comment to you,) this finally soaked into me:

      “a seahorse floating
      whose name I dared not speak….”

      “A tiny and uncommon thing
      that slipped from me ”

      I’m sorry that escaped me before. OMG…… Jenne……. :tears:

      Thank you for your kind words……..

  • zumpoems

    Really great! Classical Poetry — something understandable representing something even more understandable. Just very well crafted!

    • johnallenrichter

      Thank you for those kind words……. It means so much to find praise from artists so intensely talented and cutting edge such as yourself…. It is indeed humbling…….. And thank you for recognizing the classic nature of my emotionally driven poetry…. It is all I have ever written for as long as I can remember. As a child, and in practicing my own vision of iambic meter, I felt that my poems were indistinguishable from those of Emily Dickinson. It was just a childish fancy, I realize that of course, but it has since been a lofty goal that has stayed with me through the years. Thank you for recognizing that……

  • colleen

    I like you idea of a vase being a glass casket. Your poem reminded me of one i wrote years ago:
    Here Lies Marigolds and Zinnias

    We are all like flowers
    Cut from the ground we came from

    We are all looking out
    From the vases we are held in

    Named for our family lines by botanists
    Hoping our petals will be cherished

    We are all flourishing and fading
    Giving and taking our seed to the grave

    • johnallenrichter

      Thank you for that poem…….. You would not believe where it just took me…. My mother was an avid Marigold lover, and planted them by the dozens in plots around the home. She always kept a vase of them on our dining room table for nine people… (OK, it was really for eight, they don’t make dining room tables for nine but there was always a high-chair scooched in somewhere…) As a preschooler I asked her one day to let me help with her daily chores. Out of frustration she pointed to the dying vase of Marigolds on the table and asked me to “Take that out behind the back yard and dump it out in the field of weeds back there.” I was a little confused, as of course a four year old would be, but happy to oblige anyway. So I walked over to the table, picked up the family-sized bottle of ketchup that was sitting next to the vase, and emptied it into the weeds behind the back yard. I thought my mother was going to have a heart attack when I returned and asked what I should do with the empty ketchup bottle. I suspect that mom always knew that I was an idiot, but she loved me anyway so it doesn’t really matter…. Thanks for visiting Connie. I love your blog!

      • colleen

        That is a great story! It reminds me of the time by brother started a fire in the yard and I didn’t want him to get in trouble so I kept going back and forth to the house for a glass of water. The jig was up when my mother realized I couldn’t possibly be that thirsty.

      • johnallenrichter

        I certainly hope the fire got put out! Brothers do that sort of thing, don’t they? I certainly did….

  • ayala

    This is excellent!!!!!!!!

  • Randy Behavior

    This rang a little bell of a murder mystery movie I saw as a child… it was in black and white. The lady of the house arranged roses in the foyer. She snipped at them with especially long thin shears skillfully handled. Dare say she was the murderer in the end 🙂

  • marousia

    Ah, we kill the things we love, what a powerful poem – I love the image of a crystal vase as a mausoleum – and the ephemeral life of a flower as a metaphor…. I have signed up to your blog and will be back for sure

  • manicddaily

    What a striking closing. Lovely.

  • wolfsrosebud

    Loved the comparison of the heart to a rose. And the crystal mausoleum… brillant!

  • Poetry Pastiche

    Love this:
    “Their petals blacken and you smile.”

    And your last line (“lived upon my stem”) is fantastic:
    “I long for what once was,
    the glory of that single moment in time
    when I lived upon my stem.”

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