Poem introduction

One day, the secretary of our English department at the University of Bristol told me she was going to have a child. "When your baby arrives," I said to her, "I will give you a rose". I don't know where this fanciful idea came from. Well, the baby arrived. When the secretary returned to work, the first thing she said to me was "Where's my rose?" "Just one moment," I replied, "I will go and make you a rose." And here is the result.

A Rose for Janet

I know
this rose is only
an ink-and-paper rose
but see how it grows and goes
on growing
beneath your eyes:
a rose in flower
has had (almost) its vegetable hour
whilst my
rose of spaces and typography
can reappear at will
(your will)
whenever you repeat
this ceremony of the eye
from the beginning
and thus
learn how
to resurrect a rose
that's instantaneous
perennial
and perfect now


from Selected Poems 1955-97 (OUP, 1997), copyright © Charles Tomlinson 1997, used by permission of the author and the publisher

Recordings

Charles Tomlinson

Charles Tomlinson Downloads

1Above Manhattan

£0.89

2Fountain

£0.89

3Revolution, Piazza di Spagna

£0.89

4To Vasko Popa in Rome

£0.89

5Winter Journey I (1)

£0.89

6Winter Journey IV

£0.89

7To My Daughter

£0.89

8Jessica Learned to Kiss

£0.89

9After the Poetry Reading

£0.89

10Colloquy with a Grandchild

£0.89

11A Given Grace

£0.89

12A Rose for Janet

£0.89

13Event

£0.89

14Paring the Apple

£0.89

15The Picture of J.T. in a Prospect of Stone

£0.89

16John Mayhew, or The Allotment

£0.89

17At Stoke

£0.89

18Etruria Vale

£0.89

19The Marl Pits

£0.89

20News

£0.89

21Epidauros

£0.89

22Against Travel

£0.89

23Las Trampas, U.S.A.

£0.89

24Jemez

£0.89

25A Death in the Desert

£0.89

26Arroyo Hondo

£0.89

27Mr. Brodsky

£0.89

28Assassin

£0.89

29On the Late Plane

£0.89

30A Sense of Distance

£0.89

31During Rain

£0.89

32Drawing down the Moon

£0.89

33The Door

£0.89

Books by Charles Tomlinson