For Sandra Lewis
We were unsure where to put the Christmas Rose,
aka hellebore niger, you brought us
this December gone. We chose, pro tem, the room
where I write, with its two long windows.
The light the north facing one lets in
is unambiguous. The other accepts
occasional sun from late mornings
to early evenings. I write in a corner
by a wall of books. With its much travelled
piano, its bodhrán missing a drumstick,
a clutch of recorders, a violin case
under the chaise longue, we call this space,
not wholly ironically, ‘The Music Room’.
Its harmonics sound through my poems.
This so-called rose – an ancient cure for madness,
a guard against evil, no more connected
particularly to Yuletide other than
it flowers as the year turns through darkness –
is, I learn, a distant buttercup. Here
its subtle beauty thrives.