"And the unseen eyebeam crossed, for the roses
Had the look of flowers that are looked at"
Burnt Norton ~ T.S. Eliot
We stop and smell the roses,2 frustrated
with a fragrance faded out to favour
candied compositions.3 Bold blooms
however, halt our hastening - like traffic lights
we should be glad such scentless sights
have power to dam the rushing stream
of all preoccupation.
The clock watch stops --
there's time enough to watch
the hunter gatherings of bees
feel the hairs lift on the breeze
smell the aftermath of long-sought rain
on dry, cracked earth - then check the weather vane.
I've stood stock still to sneak preview
ants that tickle aphid farms for honeydew.
And in the midst of rustic reverie
recite some lines from childhood memory 4
Yet all these things divine are still diversion
Fixating thoughts on that not this, elsewhere
and so we see without a glimpse of what we are
there in the rose garden5
1.Title translated from the German da-sein – Heidegger’s philosophy of existence as presence
2. Proverb meaning: “To take time out of one’s busy schedule to appreciate the beauty of life.”
3. See Science News: “Missing enzyme to blame for scentless roses”
4. References the subject and meter of Davies’ “Leisure” poem, which I learned as a child
5. A motif of Eliot’s poetry – see Wagner’s “The Meaning of Eliot’s Rose Garden“
Taking it to the existential level, after Merril prompts us to include a chosen proverb in our poem for her Poetics challenge: The Proverbial