by Stephen Philip Druce
THE GARDENER & THE ROSE
The gardener felt
inferior to the rose.
The rose, with its natural
beauty for portraits –
a blazing jewel in the dirt,
flaming without fire,
ice cool for the burning sun,
alluring to the bees, its sweet
perfumed scent, its eagle petals
that swooned with clutched
un-spilt raindrops, bestowed
from ballet clouds.
Then one day the rose got
too old. The gardener wept as
he cut it down –
the rose with the inferior soul.
Anywhere but here – but I am.
I am a wedding guest.
With my death the only
legitimate excuse for my
absence, I attend the church
ceremony under duress.
I stand dutifully, singing a
hymn I don’t recognise, among
an unspiritual congregation of
carnation-wearing twits with
personalities so hideously square
I feel unwell.
The bride is late, but the groom
had better not be, or the bride
may display public hysterics in a
wedding dress – a dress so
aesthetically pleasing she dare not
wear it more than once.
The father of the bride gives his
daughter away as if she were a
second hand car – a spectacle so
grotesque I have to close both eyes.
The only upside to the phoney bash
is that the church keeps the rain out.
The best man’s speech anecdote –
based on the occasion the groom left
his sandwiches on the train, prompts
wild guffawing as artificial as the wedding
cake: a sickly souvenir cake meticulously
created, but wouldn’t tempt the taste buds
of a starving orphan.
Some of the guests are unloved – never
been loved. Nevertheless, obliged to express
their unbridled joy for the newly-weds, obliged
to grace their pretentious protocol party while
simultaneously restraining their own impending