Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Reena Prasad writes

Tell Me Again

Tell me again
Why did you plant roses?

pink ones with half-hidden longings
the reds wearing mourning at the edges of their concave eyelids
The white ones with an hint of insolence
revealed only when one knelt 
the yellows delicately reclining in the dew
smelling faintly of cigar smoke
the dual-hued ones with mystery in their ancestry 
Climbing trellises with off-white blossoms
bent over from their waist into the neighbor’s plot
reaching out to the wild, nameless vines clawing their way up 
pouring out in buds to cover up their barrenness

Their scents pirouetted in the backyard in the dim starlight
on sleepless nights, the moonlight streamed in
pressing me into the covers
swirling a rich fragrance of silk over my restlessness

No flowers grow here
there is no grass to cup my knees if I drop
no fences to keep out skipping goats
and no goats frisky-tailed or naughty-eyed
no gate to take the brunt of my tired day
yet the evening takes me in -
as I trudge in harbouring faint hopes of you opening the door
- smelling as if it came from your garden

and in its lap I find a riot of roses
Its name and number lost,
the house has ambled off into someone’s memory
its walls falling apart letting weeds avenge the transgression

Nothing remains
except the scent of your heady obsessions

The Roses of Heliogabalus -- Lawrence Alma-Tadema

1 comment:

  1. Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus ("Heliogabalus") became Roamn emperor at 14 after his cousin Marcus Aurelius Severus Antoninus Augustus ("Caracalla") was assassinated in 217. He acquired a reputation as an especially dissolute ruler. in his "History of the Decline and fall of the Roman Empire" Edward Gibbon claimed he “abandoned himself to the grossest pleasures with ungoverned fury” amid a “confused multitude of women, of wines, and of dishes.” In one famous episode from the "Historia Augustae," written about a century later, he treated his dinner guests ("his parasites") with roses that fell from behind a reversible ceiling; they were “smothered to death, being unable to crawl out to the top.” After a short reign, during which he was married 5 times to members of both sexes, he was deposed and assassinated at the instigation of the same aunt who had installed him 4 years earlier. In Spanish "heliogábalo" means "a person overwhelmed by gluttony."


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