Rhodora Rewrought

December’s fingers held me by the hand,
To lead me through the woods of summer’s death,
And there beheld what months ago held breath;
I stood, a witness of that reprimand.

The mist that hugged the earth assailed the eyes,
The wet and mulching leaves beneath one’s feet
Made the skin crawl with dread that yelled retreat,
Yet depthless silence held me paralyzed.

A single ray of light that pierced the gloom
Showed what should not have touched a mortal soul,
Its petals black with soot and reeking doom,
Rhodora stood defenseless, raped, unwhole.

They said December’s roses bring back June;
The thought brings nothing now but jester’s tune.


i read ralph waldo emerson’s sonnet “The Rhodora” when i was in high school, and was captivated by its imagery and beauty. i have always loved writing sonnets, but it’s never the easiest poem to write… i wanted to capture here the possibility of the flower’s being subjected to degradation and neglect (all too common nowadays)….


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