When our daughter was in kindergarten, she memorized the William Blake poem “The Sick Rose.”
O rose, thou art sick!
The invisible worm
That flies in the night,
In the howling storm,
Has found out thy bed
Of crimson joy,
And his dark secret love
Does thy life destroy.
Ok, I know, this is a strange and slightly macabre poem to have a kindergartner memorize. Nevertheless . . .
I thought of this poem today when I was pruning our wild rose bush. It leads a tough life near a walnut tree in a shady area between our house and the neighbors. Being on the property line, it’s in a kind of no-man’s land. The poor thing gets overrun by wild grape vine and Virginia creeper, too, on occasion.
The rose didn’t bloom this summer, and it developed some kind of wasting disease.
But today I got inspired to clean it up. I pulled off the grapevine and weeded away all the little tree sprouts at its base. I pruned. And I pruned. There were a lot of dead canes, but as a show of rose pluckiness, also a little shoot coming up in the middle of the bush.
So, o rose, thou art sick, but not dead yet!