Barbara Derbyshire is an author of short fiction and poetry. Originally from London and now an Irish citizen, her home is in Kerry where, with more time to think, observe and remember, she has rediscovered her love of writing. Her first published book is Tapestry of Love, Life and Spirit, and, her second collection. Leaving Echoes, will be launched in November 2019.
A Rose for My Friend
It was only a little rose from Aldi,
one of a dozen bought to brighten the room,
to be discarded when the festivities died.
I wanted you to have it, as I want you to have everything that is beautiful.
But it is steeped in symbolism, this humble flower.
Red in colour, the colour of romantic love.
To soak the excess water from the stem
I wrapped it in a napkin, the only one I could find.
It was red and shaped like a heart
I met you later, along with some other people.
Even though you would know the meaning
they may not. They may wonder why. It could look weird.
I was afraid to place this flower into your hand.
The hand that never scares me, the hand that has guided me
through endless dark corridors
I will not say it is just a flower.
Even without scent, it carries a glorious beauty,
a stark, crimson statement of love.
Alone, or with eleven of its sisters
It carries a message
universally understood and misunderstood.
When is it okay to hand a single red rose
to a friend who means so much more
than romance to you?
I wish I’d found my courage on the day,
taken it from my bag and presented it to you
even if my face matched its hue.
Gold, cold, crispiness
Never to be forgotten
Absence of your smile.
It reminds me of you
I don’t know why
It never featured in life
As a child or teenager
We were all Winter
You, me, Dad and Jesus
We had cardigans, scarves
Woolly hats, gloves.
It all happened in the cold
Friends had the months of Summer
But we were all December
Jesus, Dad and me.
You were February,
But still said you were Winter
Just to keep us company.
You chose Spring to leave us
Should have been new life
Not the death of a Mother
Who followed her sister to where?
The Promised Land?
Heaven? Hell? Purgatory?
Heaven for you and Jesus.
Hell for Dad and me.
Autumn – the only one untainted.