TCS: Something Disappearing as We Say Its Name

. Good Morning! 



Welcome to The Coffee Shop, just for you early risers
on Monday mornings. This is an Open Thread forum,
so if you have an off-topic opinion burning a hole in
your brainpan, feel free to add a comment.


“The language of roses shifts under our feet.
It blows in and out like the wind. It carries
the fragrance of the flower and then it is gone…
It is how we learn to speak about something
that is disappearing as we say its name.”

― Helen Humphreys, ‘The Lost Garden’


There are ironies to the drastic changes which Melania Trump made to the White House Rose Garden. First, there weren’t that many roses in Jacqueline Kennedy’s design, and the garden is mostly grass, because it is often used for events. And with the deluge of horrible things that have happened since the Trumps became squatters in the White House, pulling up some flowers and trees probably won’t even rate a footnote when the histories are written.

Yet there is something about this ripping out of healthy living plants and trees that is so symbolic of the wanton destruction which has been visited on the United States since they moved in – the uncaring, casual cruelty and applauded brutality toward all human beings except rich white people, the denial and hastening of climate change, the ever-rising national debt, and the endless, needless deaths in this pandemic.

Roses have long been the most-favored symbolic flower –  as tokens of love, beauty, sympathy, apology, even power – think of the Wars of the Roses between the Plantagenets and the Lancastrians. Roses have been the official flower of the United States since 1986.

So a White House Rose Garden with no roses seems an apt symbol of what the 2016 election has cost us, and of all the false narratives of this administration.

There has never been a blue rose in nature, but Yihua Chen, Yan Zhang and their colleagues are getting a little closer:

I hope it is a sign of change toward desirable outcomes.


Look to the blowing Rose about us−”Lo,
Laughing,” she says, “into the world I blow,
    At once the silken tassel of my Purse
Tear, and its Treasure on the Garden throw.”

− from Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam,
   translated by Edward FitzGerald

Omar Khayyam (1048-1131) Persian mathematician, astronomer, philosopher and poet. As an astronomer, he designed a solar calendar with a very precise 33-year intercalation cycle (inserting additions, like our leap day in February, to keep the calendar accurate).  As a poet, he is noted for using quatrains.

Edward FitzGerald (1809-1883) English poet, writer and translator; best known for his translation of Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám.


Nobody knows this little Rose (#300)

by Emily Dickinson

Nobody knows this little Rose —
It might a pilgrim be
Did I not take it from the ways
And lift it up to thee.
Only a Bee will miss it —
Only a Butterfly,
Hastening from far journey —
On its breast to lie —
Only a Bird will wonder —
Only a Breeze will sigh —
Ah Little Rose — how easy
For such as thee to die!

“Nobody knows this little Rose (#300)” from The Poems of Emily Dickinson, edited by R. W. Franklin – © 1999 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College – Harvard University Press

Emily Dickinson (1830-1886) America’s best-known woman poet and one of the nation’s greatest and most original authors, lived the life of a recluse in Amherst Massachusetts. She wrote nearly 1800 poems, ignoring the traditional poetic forms prevailing among most of the other poets of her day. The extent of her work wasn’t known until after her death, when her younger sister Lavinia discovered her huge cache of poems.


The Lover Tells of the Rose in His Heart

by William Butler Yeats

All things uncomely and broken, all things worn out and old,
The cry of a child by the roadway, the creak of a lumbering cart,
The heavy steps of the ploughman, splashing the wintry mould,
Are wronging your image that blossoms a rose in the deeps of my heart.

The wrong of unshapely things is a wrong too great to be told;
I hunger to build them anew and sit on a green knoll apart,
With the earth and the sky and the water, re-made, like a casket of gold
For my dreams of your image that blossoms a rose in the deeps of my heart.

“The Lover Tell of the Rose in His Heart” from The Collected Poems of W.B. Yeats – Scribner Revised Edition 1996

 William Butler Yeats (1865-1939), is admired as one of the greatest poets of the 20th Century. He is a key figure in the Irish Literary Revival (also ironically called the Celtic Twilight), and a co-founder of the Irish National Theatre Society and the Abbey Theatre with Lady Augusta Gregory.


Tis the Last Rose of Summer

by Thomas Moore

Tis the last rose of summer
Left blooming alone;
All her lovely companions
Are faded and gone:
No flower of her kindred,
No rose-bud is nigh,
To reflect back her blushes,
Or give sigh for sigh.

I’ll not leave thee, thou lone one!
To pine on the stem;
Since the lovely are sleeping,
Go, sleep thou with them.
Thus kindly I scatter
Thy leaves o’er the bed,
Where thy mates of the garden
Lie scentless and dead.

So soon may I follow,
When friendships decay,
And from Love’s shining circle
The gems drop away.
When true hearts lie wither’d,
And fond ones are flown,
Oh! who would inhabit
This bleak world alone?

“Tis the Last Rose of Summer” is in the public domain

Thomas Moore (1779-1852) Irish writer, poet and lyricist; best remembered for setting his English-language verses to old Irish tunes.


Hope in Elizabeth

by Kathleen Norris

From the train
it’s a city of roses
and rose keepers,
bald men in spectacles
and torn shirts.
There are miles of roses
in Elizabeth, New Jersey,

backyard arbors
shadowed by refineries
and the turnpike,
jungles of scrap,
still brown water, and poisoned marsh.

None of this matters
to the rose keepers of Elizabeth.
From the backyards of row houses
they bring forth pink roses, yellow roses
and around a house on its own
green plot, a hedge of roses, in red and white.

Surely faith and charity
are fine, but the greatest of these
is roses.

“Hope in Elizabeth” from The Middle of the World, © 1981 by Kathleen Norris – University of Pittsburgh Press

Kathleen Norris (1947 – ) American poet and essayist; arts administrator of the Academy of American Poets (1969-1974). She and her husband went to live on the South Dakota farm she inherited from her grandparents in 1974. After her husband’s death in 2003, she moved to Hawaii. Her books of poetry include Falling Off; The Year of Common Things; and Journey: New and Selected Poems, 1969-1999.


The Rose Family

by Robert Frost

The rose is a rose,
And was always a rose.
But the theory now goes
That the apple’s a rose,
And the pear is, and so’s
The plum, I suppose.
The dear only knows
What will next prove a rose.
You, of course, are a rose –
But were always a rose.

“The Rose Family” from The Poetry of Robert Frost © 1975 by Lesley Frost Ballantine –  Holt, Rinehart and Winston

 Robert Frost (1874-1963), though regarded as the quintessential New England American poet, he was born in San Francisco, California, and his poems were published in England before they were published in the U.S. He is the only poet to receive the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry four times: in 1924, for New Hampshire: A Poem With Notes and Grace Notes; in 1931 for Collected Poems; in 1937 for A Further Range; and in 1943 for A Witness Tree. Frost was the first Poet Laureate of Vermont (1961-1963).



  • On mug: All American Magic Rose
  • “Blue” rose in progress – Yihua Chen and Yan Zhang team
  • Rosa damascena 
  • Martha Washington Rose
  • The Irish Rose
  • Old Blush Rose
  • Two tone rose
  • Fruits in the Rose Family

About wordcloud9

Nona Blyth Cloud has lived and worked in the Los Angeles area for over 50 years, spending much of that time commuting on the 405 Freeway. After Hollywood failed to appreciate her genius for acting and directing, she began a second career managing non-profits, from which she has retired. Nona has now resumed writing whatever comes into her head, instead of reports and pleas for funding. She lives in a small house overrun by books with her wonderful husband.
This entry was posted in Poetry, The Coffee Shop and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.