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Lay for the Day
23rd May

Rosalia, the Roman rose-festival, was celebrated on the twenty-third day of the month of Maia, in honour of the flower goddess, Flora, and of Venus, the goddess of love.

They’re too well known to name.
You’d think their pink might be a sign of shame
At their overblown fame.
For these have been emblems
Of passion and beauty and such, even
Transported to heaven
To be God’s resemblance.

They don’t mind. They don’t blush.
They crowd to work at the crown of the bush,
Twisting open the plush
Chambers to be adored
By flies and bees – such bliss as bugs deserve,
Of touch, tint, scent and curve.
Each is more or less flawed

And briefer than this word
In which they’re gathered, countless summer hoard,
Sprung and scattered abroad.
They come and the tongue goes
Empty, looking what to liken them to.
And this is yet more true
Of you, lovelier than those.


John Gibbens
from Further Sonnets


The Lay Reader: an archive of the poetic calendar

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