The Rose and the Nightingale by Susan Taylor

Three Drops from a Cauldron

The Rose and the Nightingale

Rosa Rugosa,
how long has she lived
behind our house?

Her perfumed bodice,
magenta, the colour
of artistry,

make up, one off;
no other living thing
quite her shade,

no other perfume,
so sensational
in its occasion,

its thrill, like hearing
someone playing a piano
in an upstairs room.

Two ancient bushes
of Rosa Rugosa,
deep-rooted in our ground,

reminder,
of an old fashioned healer
making good works here.

She has drawn
time’s veil to one side,
and is dancing in

the Rosa Rugosa.
How long has she lived
behind our house?

Prior to piano,
virginal, harpsichord,
this is the story,

a nightingale, in love,
settled down to sing
in a flair of scent

from her perfumed bodice,
magenta, the colour
of make belief.

Later, a priest came
through the woods in the dusk,
called by the voice

not of nightingale,
but a singular lady

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