Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Last Rose of Summer

Yesterday, while I was out collecting zinnias for next summer's seed, I noticed that, despite all the other flowers having been hit hard by several nights of frost, a small bud was forming on one of the smaller rose bushes - a tea rose, I believe. So today, I went out and took its picture. A light rain was falling. There's something about a rose balancing beads of rain on its soft petals ...

"It Is Raining on the House of Anne Frank"

It is raining on the house
of Anne Frank
and on the tourists
herded together under the shadow
of their umbrellas,
on the perfectly silent
tourists who would rather be
somewhere else
but who wait here on stairs
so steep they must rise
to some occasion
high in the empty loft,
in the quaint toilet,
in the skeleton
of a kitchen
or on the map--
each of its arrows
a barb of wire--
with all the dates, the expulsions,
the forbidding shapes
of continents.
And across Amsterdam it is raining
on the Van Gogh museum
where we will hurry next
to see how someone else
could find the pure
center of light
within the dark circle
of his demons.

~ Linda Pastan


  1. There is something brave and slightly sad about these beautiful late autumn roses. Thanks for posting this poem, too.

  2. Such a beautiful shade of pink. Our roses are still blooming...red and pink. They stared so early in spring and are going so late. I told my husband we may have roses in the snow : )
    The poem is a haunting, rainy day of tourists.

  3. The beauty of your late summer rose, washed so fresh and clean, is so strongly contrasted against the feelings of sadness that thoughts of Anne Frank brings. I have been on those steep stairs, peeped into that loft - now I don't know why I did - the sadness that I felt then came back so strongly with this poem ...we need more roses in our world.

  4. "the pure
    center of light
    within the dark circle
    of his demons"

    I love it. Thanks, T:)

  5. Beautiful... Great picture. Is Buddy staying out of your plants??? He sure is a beautiful boy.

  6. How beautiful, sad, and poignant. Hugs and blessings to you, Teresa.

  7. I love your post. Not just a wet rose, but a poetic one too. I love the Gypsy Caravan painting! Wish it was bigger!

  8. Oh... very cool poem. I have not heard it before or the author.
    The last rose is so precious. Its value bring deeper meaning to summer's end.. as if the rose bush was making a last wonderful attempt to be its true self before the dormancy of Winter.
    Lovely photo.

  9. Your rose is so precious, Teresa, and just your title and the sight of the rose's intense beauty brought a tear to my eye. The poem brought more. A sadness at mankind. You have a most sensitive and remarkable ability to marry pictures with words that stir the emotions. Thank you.

  10. What a lovely water laden rose bud!
    Ann was like a rose bud that never reached bloom.
    Van Gogh seemed to focus more on the rain and thorns.
    YOu do manage to pair up interesting poems with your photos, lady! ;)

  11. What a gorgeous last rose!

  12. Teresa,

    A painfully good poem. And a beautiful flower, though sadly seasons last. I'm with you on those beads of rain balanced on petals. Magic the way they rise in form atop the surface.

    I usually avoid places where strong sad or bad things have taken place. That lingering weighted essence of feelings and events can immobilize me. And then there are places like the old home of Fechin in Taos, where the love and craftsmanship left in its wood seemed a counter weight to some of its sad history. Just before descending the stairs, I whispered to my husband my urge to swing round and down the anchoring center post, like his daughter must have done again and again. At the bottom of the stairs an older woman stopped me, seemed to smile with knowing and softly said, “you may if you wish”.

    Embarrassed at being overheard, I returned the docents smile, said “thank you but I couldn’t” and headed for the gallery out back. As we were leaving I mentioned the woman in the house and was told it was Fechin’s daughter Eya. She still found light in a place where darkness could have had the upper hand.

  13. Hello Teresa:
    We have found Linda Pastan's poem to be utterly haunting and somehow so very appropriate to the approach of the year's end. And a very salutary reminder.

  14. Jenny, It was its bravery tinged with sadness that spoke to me most of all.

    LadyCat, Roses in the snow. Wouldn't that be lovely?

    Marilyn, I appreciate that you've been there, on those steep stairs. I have not, only in my mind, and can only imagine the sadness that rests on those stairs. Yes, we need more roses.

    Will, Those lines are powerful aren't they? Thank YOU.

    TM, Lynn, Buddy is even bigger now, but he and I had to come to an agreement. I offered him, and he accepted, a small area at the end of one of my rock gardens. He was allowed to do some pruning, digging, and generally lying around the cool rocks. It worked out pretty well. Thanks!

  15. DJan, Hugs to you, my friend. Thank you for your kindness.

    Michael and Hanne, Perhaps I'll have to highlight that van Gogh of the caravans at some time. It is a nice painting. Thank you for reading and commenting.

    farmlady, Yes, its true self, and such a nice little gift from the summer.

    LOTC, Penny, Although each started as two different posts, once I saw their connection, it seemed like a natural wedding of ideas. Thank you.

    Rita, I appreciate your thoughts on both Anne and van Gogh. Exactly so. Thank you for your response.

    Montucky, Thank you. It's a beauty, isn't it? Mother Nature continually amazes me.

  16. Chris, You once mentioned that many magical things have happened on your visits to Taos, and what a wonderful experience you've related about your visit to the Fechin house. That you discovered it was his daughter who invited you to swing down the post....wow. Thank you so much for telling me/us about it. Life often seems to require that we find the light, even in great darkness. Thank you, Chris. I hope you're having a good week.

    Jane and Lance. It is haunting, isn't it? It was the rainy day....

  17. The words almost perfectly balance the beauty of the image.

  18. Thank you, Alan. It seemed an interesting juxtaposition to me.

  19. AUTUMN

    O Lord, it is time
    The summer was so vast
    Put your shadows on the sundials
    And in the fields let the wind loose.

    Order the last fruits to become ripe
    Give them two more sunny days
    Push them to fulfillment
    And force the last sweetness into the heavy wine.

    He who has no house now will not build one
    He who is alone will be so for a long time to come
    Will stay awake, read, write long letters
    And restlessly walk in the park among the blown leaves.

    ~ Rainer Maria Rilke ~

  20. Sad to think not many blooms will be around. I clip rose hips for tea.One year after many years of zinnas from collected seed, they returned to the parent plants and were all pink, with scraggly blooms. I should grab a few myself.

  21. Michael, How very fitting, Rilke and his poem to autumn. as always, he has some fine lines here. I find the last stanza so terribly poignant. But not necessarily a bad place to be... :) Thank you.

    Steve, I'm new to this seed saving thing, but I did so last year with very good results. We shall see what next year brings... Thanks!

  22. The last summer rose
    Bids farewell to one and all,
    Rose petals dripping.

  23. Ah, Teresa, the rose in the rain is significant on its own, and then you go and pile on the Anne Frank poem, which is sad and lovely and a little breathtaking. Always food for thought here.

  24. Nancy, There are many layers to that poem. Besides Anne Frank and van Gogh, there are those tourists.... What Ms. Pastan says about them is very interesting....

    Thank you.

  25. Hard to believe you're having frost already...the summer just breezed on by. The last rose seems to be to be determined to give you pleasure. Kind of sad to see them go. Hope you get an October Indian summer with a few more of those pretty pinks sneaking in there.
    Thanks for the poem.

  26. Hi Karen, Yeah, a few nights of frost already, but supposed to warm up next week. I'm hoping for Indian summer, as well.

  27. I'm with Will on this one. A line for the ages.

  28. Isn't it, Cletis? A really, really good poem.

  29. Very beautiful summer rose!! In India, Roses are available for all the seasons. Nice poem.

    God bless you.

  30. Santosh, So good to "see" you again. How wonderful, to have roses year 'round. Thank you for visiitng.

    Thank you,and God bless you.

  31. You have the eye and the soul of a true poet. You recognise the beauty of poetry in everything around you, not just poetry.

  32. Teresa -- Interesting juxtaposition of rose beauty and ugliness of the Anne Frank loft. We do live in the theatrical mask of dark and light. Lovely photo. -- barbara

  33. Friko. Wow. I don't know what to say, except thank you for that very generous thought of me. The world offers so many fine opportunities....

  34. Barbara, And fragile beauty struggles for life in extreme conditions, even amidst the ugliness of some human behavior.

    Thank you.

  35. Hej! you're busy, eh? `)
    The rose is always a miracle, whether it is the first or the last, but maybe the last makes you a little sad. Autumn is near and what then? If winter comes........
    Anne Frank's name makes me so sad. I cannot forget that little face of hers,and the poem brings memories of her gruesome fate. It's one of the saddest stories about a child from those five years of WWII.

  36. Hi Grethe, Yes, if winter comes....

    Anne Frank represents so much. Such a terrible, terrible time.

    Thank you.