Thursday, January 11, 2007

Thursday Challenge--Cliché: A rose is a rose is a rose

One phrase came into my mind when pondering clichés. It was the Shakespeare line “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” Since I didn’t feel that I have a serious poem in me at this last minute hour, I thought I would research the use of the rose in poetry. It struck me that the rose in poetry is a cliché in itself, although the poems that started the trend were probably not considered trite when they were written.
As expected a quick internet survey reveals no shortage of poems with roses in them. Here is a selection (excerpted only for space considerations).

The lily I condemned for thy hand,
And buds of marjoram had stol'n thy hair:
The roses fearfully on thorns did stand,
One blushing shame, another white despair;

Shakespeare, Sonnet XCIX

O, how much more doth beauty beauteous seem
By that sweet ornament which truth doth give!
The rose looks fair, but fairer we it deem
For that sweet odour which doth in it live.

Shakespeare, Sonnet LIV

O, my luve is like a red, red rose,
That's newly sprung in June;

Traditional Scottish tune, preserved by Robert Burns

Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose
Loveliness extreme.

Gertrude Stein

"CHANGE me, some God, into that breathing rose!"
The love-sick Stripling fancifully sighs,
The envied flower beholding, as it lies
On Laura's breast, in exquisite repose;

William Wordsworth

Lady of silences
Calm and distressed
Torn and most whole
Rose of memory
Rose of forgetfulness
Exhausted and life-giving
Worried reposeful
The single Rose
Is now the Garden
Where all loves end

T.S.Eliot, Ash Wednesday

If love were what the rose is,
And I were like the leaf,
Our love would grow together,
In sad or sighing weather.


There's sweetness in an apple tree,
And profit in the corn;
But lady of all beauty
Is a rose upon a thorn.

Christina Rossetti

Nobody knows this little Rose --
It might a pilgrim be
Did I not take it from the ways
And lift it up to thee.
Only a Bee will miss it --
Only a Butterfly,
Hastening from far journey --
On its breast to lie --
Only a Bird will wonder --
Only a Breeze will sigh --
Ah Little Rose -- how easy
For such as thee to die!

Emily Dickinson

So here I stand daring not to brave the wild and woolly, tempest toss’d, wond’rous universe, the poet’s muse and the lion’s fearsome breast. Alas and woe it is not for me to rush hell-bent into the fray and tempt the fates by throwing my hat into the ring and writing a rhyme of roses.


Debo Blue said...

"If love was like the rose..." how quickly we forget truly beautiful writing when you're reading tome after tome of business stuff.

Thanks SO much for the quick trip back to the college when I began reading Shakespeare.

Rav`N said...

bothe roses and poetry are so closely associated with all things romantic that its no real surprise I suppose that so many poems make reference to roses. It almost makes the act of refering to a rose in a poem a cliche.

Crafty Green Poet said...

It's sad that the rose has become such a cliche in writing, after all , as your photo shows they can be such beautiful flowers.

angela said...

Lovely post. The older poets say it more romantically and I love roses anyway. A good way to start the day.

Tongue in Cheek Antiques said...

A rose says it all!

BendingPeak said...

Great picture. Great post.

paris parfait said...

Lovely poems - roses are just so beautiful and romantic, it's hard not to feel poetic when seeing them! Perhaps roses are more a tradition than a cliche - although I often think guys with no imagination will buy a bouquet of roses, not even knowing if the recipient likes roses or considering the colour.

megan said...

oh i do love emily. thanks for sharing this one. it made me laugh aloud with the delight of recognition...the paradox of the communion of hermit souls. She writes with great wit, extracted with precision from the carefully observed goings on...outside. thank you!

Rose said...

Ah yes and my name just happens to be Rose. One of the clitches of all. Lovely post.

Pepper said...

One Perfect Rose
A single flow'r he sent me, since we met.
All tenderly his messenger he chose;
Deep-hearted, pure, with scented dew still wet --
One perfect rose.

I knew the language of the floweret:
`My fragile leaves,' it said, `his heart enclose'.
Love long has taken for his amulet
One perfect rose.

Why is it no one ever sent me yet
One perfect limousine, do you suppose?
Ah no, it's always just my luck to get
One perfect rose.

Dorothy Parker