Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The Lay of Rose And Blade

The Lay Of Rose And Blade

I have no silver left on my blade
   only the pure grey iron.
The lay of the knife, 
   the way of the sword
is all a warrior can rely on.

The lay of the rose is
    from bud to bloom,
a fragrance annulling a thorn.
   The way of the rose
is bloom blown to split hip,
   so lovesome but not so long.

I am the last of the lay and the way,
   a rod without petal or haft
I am the iron that forges itself
   short and sharp through the breast.

~October 2015


Images: The Blow To The Heart, 1952 Rene Magritte
Meditative Rose, Salvador Dali   
Fair use via


  1. I love the musical feel to this. It has such a lovely rhythm.

  2. This is impressive work. It is up there with the classics in many ways, motif, metre, voice and a metaphor as perennial as the human condition. I love the format you have used too.
    Beautiful poetry!

    1. Thank you Kerry--this one falls back on the learned skills and the memory, so much a part of how we write.

  3. To me, 'tis a conversation between the art and the heart, resolving in stanza 3 into the two as one. No last line required, or stopped with the penultimate. Your craft is showing petal and steel ... insurpassable ... and your metrics are trimmed to a limerick's snapcracklycrunch!

    1. Yes, the singsong is there in this one--they are the easy ones to rap out for me. More about age and death for me though the art is always the blade for this warrior, and the heart must live with it. Thanks for the read, B.

  4. Whoa--wonderful--this has such a great balladic--La Belle Dame Sans Merci sort of feel to it--not in content so much as in the weight of the words and rhythms--although of course, there is that medieval type tone. Wonderfully well done with great but serious word play that works both in the sphere of rose/sword and human-the split hip and the many layers of lay--I think here, of song, but the lay of the sword so like the lay of the land, and also of course, there's the more sexual sort of version--so resonates on many levels. REally well done, Joy--a joy to read, though rather somber. k.

    1. Thanks, k. As always you find every glimmer that can be found in my somewhat tarnished repertoire. :_)

  5. I agree with Kerry, this has a classic feel. It is at once a piece that feels like it could be from another time, but also feels contemporary. No mean feat, and just plain satisfying to read.

  6. Can you be both tender and strong?
    Can you be the iron and the softness of the petals?
    Can they exist together?

    There is a stripping away of the finery here though, no more silver, just the raw metal; no more petals.
    Intriguing piece. You are pumping out good stuff joy.

  7. I must've read this line: " is bloom blown to split hip" a dozen times. I like its sound, what it does to the shape of my lips... This is a delight to read aloud.


"We make out of the quarrel with others, rhetoric, out of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry." ~William Butler Yeats

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