Words and Roses

Words and Roses

I never imagined so rare a night
would make me dream of roses –
the gentle rain,
the words falling irresistibly
as arrows in flight,
sometimes singly,
sometimes in a shower,
far too many for me to catch,
and each a flower
without match.

In what other life did you wear them
so that they smelt of you?
We knew each other well,
these words and I,
from having sung of you everywhere
under your spell.

I followed them to the source
somewhere north of your heart –
or was it more to the south?
It matters only that they came,
from whichever direction,
still warm from your mouth.

Dear heart, I had forgotten everything
I learnt that love disposes,
until last night they came again
in a dream
with the gentle rain,
smelling of you and roses.

– Christmas Day, 1998


'Words and Roses' from Gallipoli & Other Poems (Wai-te-ata Press, 1999), © Alistair Te Ariki Campbell 1999, used by permission of the author. Recording from the Aotearoa New Zealand Poetry Sound Archive 2004.

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