The Rosebush

Behold the rosebush; behold the fire.
Pink flames dancing over green coals.
Thorns instead of heat to keep
the ardent admirer at bay.
Sweet is the fragrance of her beauty.
What a prayer the rosebush makes!
You who would pray, pray a rosebush.
Pray not so full of beauty as to hide your pain
nor so full of thorns that there is not room to blossom.
Pray your whole life out to God, thorns and all,
but let your blossoms be at the very tips
where the spirit may blow by and thouch them
and their scent may mingle with the wind.
You who would pray, pray a rosebush.
She is softness to the nose,
melody to the eye,
and bread to the bees.
For in every true beauty lies a perfect usefulness
and in every true prayer a perfect love.
The rosebush serves by opening herself beyond her thorns.
She serves by offering a delicate fire
whose smoke the bees bear away to feed their brood.
Behold the rosebush! Wet, cold flames of a dewy summer morning,
praise and sacrifice inseparable.
A living prayer, a prayer of living;
serving the hunger of the bees for food,
serving the hunger of our hearts for beauty.

Blessed are you, O God, creator of the rose.
We daily take delight in her, and you.

probably 1984
June, 1999