The Rose Of Darkness - Poem by Herbert Nehrlich
' A rose', the Cantadora said to me
'is the most precious flower on this earth.'
She took my hand and led me out, 'so come and see',
her whisper fading as the mountain range gave birth
to all the brilliance surely only God could muster,
an orange glow of gold and hidden rainbows,
illuminating warmly now a cluster
of cirrhus clouds, puffed up like wild volcanoes.
' Is this what roses look like', asking rather shyly,
I was a man who had been happy in the cave,
for centuries of darkness. She said wryly
' Oh, no my child, remember what I gave
to you when Hermit placed the kiss of life on you,
and you could hear and see and smell its glow
you must have wondered why the colour blue
was mixed inside the fragrance, it was so.
It was a rose as red as is your own red blood,
and born a symbol of your ancient soul.
When we created you from dust and sacred mud
only the rose could make your mind and body whole.
Go now, my child, the world is sorely ready,
and do not ever leave your rose in other hands.
Go spread the word of old traditions and our heady
but genuine gospel through the foreign lands.'
And she raised my arm up to her wrinkled face
and kissed the rose and then my cheeks, soon turned away.
Quite ill-prepared I felt, and why the one of grace
had pushed me out into the light, I could not say.
I never saw the Cantadora 'til I died,
when they returned me to the old familiar cave.
She came and hugged me, then pronounced 'It is the pride
that makes the world and all its people misbehave.'
Well, I was happy to be back inside the dark,
where ragged edges and those stalagtites abound,
and where the forces of our souls could re-embark
on needful duties while entranced by the sweet sound
of silent melodies that resonate inside.
And while I sat and smiled amidst the resting crew
of lovely spirits in chiffon, to choose my bride,
there was awareness of a farewell and to-do
out by the exit to exotic worlds outside.
Another rose is leaving now, once it was I,
perhaps the day will come when harmony can live
out in the world of people and no other shy
ambassador would have to go and give
of his own soul to end the troubles and the wars.
The Cantadora says perfection will not come
wherever people are the likeness of brash whores.
She came inside then and my rose began to hum.
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