A rose at bay

photoart rosebay willowherb poem
photoart @hanginguptodry

“When the tongues of flames are in-folded
Into the crowned knot of fire
And the fire and the rose are one”*

willowherb sets its face windward
cornered coloniser of the wasteland
drills seed into dry, virgin dust
an aftermath of fire fringing forest and fen
when missiles misted London gardens in carmine rain
and railways forged wildflower borders of rose
in trails of dragon breath

©Laura Granby

Rosebay Willowherb is London’s official flower –  known as Fireweed & Bombweed for obvious reasons

Inspired by the Dverse word prompt ‘rose’ +Quadrille.. 44 words minus the title and opening lines from T.S.Eliot: The Four Quartets


  1. Lovely alliteration, and I didn’t know that background of fireweed… it’s actually quite common here too, especially along railroads, and one name in Swedish is Rallarros which translates to Navvy’s Rose I guess… wonderful poem heavy with history.


  2. Gosh, this reminds me of my 1970s inner-city childhood, where there were still large gaps of wasteland after World War Two. Rosebay willowherb made these places beautiful. Thank you for evoking this memory so eloquently.


    1. entitled this the rose at bay because deemed a pest in some parts of the world eg Alaska. Regarded as a native here since remains have been found in pre-historic sites though genepool suggests may have since interbred with an american variety!


  3. In the middle of your beautiful posting on a flower that is persistent in its survival you (more than) hint at a virulent war…quite a stunning poem…so enjoyed your masterful creativity.


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