A Victorian Rose

I have an old, brown carved box,
daily polished but never locked;
the lid is broken and tied with a string
but I treasure it above everything.
In it I keep little squares of paper,
mapped with grey mildew spatter,
with hair inside, and a little picture
with a saying from the holy scripture,
which hung over my brother’s bed
long before I found him dead:
a reminder of when we were children
which I endeavour to keep hidden,
and other things as small
that I cannot recall.
I have in it a rose,
picked in winter when it froze.
Other women also have such boxes,
some have gold or silver lockets
where they keep such trifles, I suppose,
but no one has my rose.

Kim M. Russell, 4th April 2018

Image result for Victorian scripture paintings with roses for children
Image found on Pinterest

My response to The Poetry School NaPoWriMo Prompt for Day 4: The Coupling

Ali says that Karen McCarthy Woolf is not only one of our finest contemporary poets, but also a brilliant inventor of forms, and the ‘coupling’ is his personal favourite.

First, we have to find a passage of prose we like and lineate it in a way that feels meaningful, then interpose a line of our own after every line of prose, perhaps echoing the prose line with assonance or rhyme. He says that the rules are a bit strict and we can loosen it up a bit by using a poem instead of a passage of prose, or adjusting the punctuation in the quoted passages.

I have chosen two opening paragraphs from a short story by the South African writer Olive Schreiner (1855-1920), entitled ‘The Woman’s Rose’. The original lines are in italics – it has developed of its own accord into a Victorian dramatic monologue.


2 thoughts on “A Victorian Rose

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