Roses and Lilies

By Willow Taylor



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"The roses are dead," she said,
and looked out across the water.
The lake was smooth as glass.
"Nothing for me to do, but watch the seasons pass.
What shall do without flowers?"
she asked, this nameless mother's daughter.
but out across the lake she saw, a floating spot of color.
Smiling she dreamed, and it seemed
her hands reached out of its own will
to clutch at dying stems, that rested in the vase by her side,
where expending their perfume, the roses had died.
Falling from her dreaming,
she looked down at her hand,
at her own eternal water, that the roses sought to drink
now, what was this nameless mother's daughter begin to think?
dreams lost to the daylight, she lost her self to dreams
feet bare, hair unbound, she wandered lost between
the land where naught is real, and where there is nothing to feel.
So down the water's edge, where the dying sun went to sink
still holding the flowers, who of her blood had to drink
she stood and tried to see the bits of color
and finally she decided they were flowers.
Flower that were living on the water
now once before in the dew of dawn
she'd seen a vision far away
a slim girl child, like herself,
a nameless mother's daughter.
but this girl child, danced upon the water
So across the lake in old canoe she went
to see the floating color,
her bleeding hands chafed by the oar,
blood joining the water.
Water lilies float gently on the waves,
of still ponds and glass-like lakes
and the stems reach down to tangle like hair
and the leaves spread wide to catch the sun
and the perfume of the flowers, white and gold
send a promise of laughter, childhood and dreams.
But in the summer, on the lake, nothing is what it seems.
The oar she forgot, but floated on, to stall among the flowers,
their petals reaching up to her, a soft and water laden bower.
Like lotuses of ages past, she lost her self in scent.
when the last of the sun was lost, she didn't wonder where it went.
Her roses fell over the side, as she reached out
to touch the glowing moon lit blooms
When from beneath the water came a girl,
skin rippled like the bank beneath the water,
of some sun lit day, in highest summer.
eyes like dreams of things in the past,
with leafs and flowers for hair and clothes.
"What is this?" she asked, holding out the roses lost.
"They are roses they grow on vines."
"why are they in my home?"
"I came to see the flowers," she said, then, "How can you dance pon the water."
"I can show you."
she extended a hand to the nameless mother's daughter
Her summer dress aglow like the lilies,
she stepped from the old canoe, and out onto the water
beneath her soles the water was firm, soft as moss
and beneath the moon they danced,
the nymph and the nameless mother's daughter,
across the lake, around the lilies and floating dead roses
Suddenly she stopped, and looked about for the canoe.
"Where am I?"
"Why you are in my vines, rose." danced the nymph of the lilies,
"But how shall I return?"
"Why do you want to?" feet finally still, her skill rippled in silent laughter.
"What have you to return to now that the flowers died?"
"I have to return to my land," the summer child cried.
"You have no way. You came into my lily land, at the ending of the day."
And beneath her feet the water was cold,
and dampened the hem of her gown.
suddenly in one fell swoop into the water she went,
and now her dress dragged her down
"Help me!" cried the girl-child, hair lost in the weeds.
"With what?"
"I'll drown!"
"Or not." The nymph danced away, then back again.
The nymph laughed, face waves above the sand.
"how long can you tread water?"
and down among the water weeds,
went the nameless mother's daughter.
And the nymph dissolved back into her home
and the flowers bloomed above her
Water lilies; white and gold and what do you suppose?
now the gentle curves and colors, of a fading summer rose.


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Roses and Lilies © 2000 by Willow Taylor

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