The dying of the light
Christmas roses bloom in the dying of the light
It's not a rose; it’s a beautiful buttercup, like the
Yellow marvels we used to use to decide if we
Liked butter or not. Did the yellow reflect upon our
Chin? The flowers resemble those of the wild rose.
And it’s poisonous to humans. Its scientific name is
Helleborus niger macranthus – enough to tangle my
Tongue. Words weave their etymologies in the mouth
Their varied derivations train our tongues to spout:
Black refers to the roots of the Christmas rose
We share these roots in the blood-soaked earth.
We flower, alchemically, like the fresh spring rose,
A cottage garden flower – hardy throughout the old
British Isles - black hellebore was used by druids
To treat paralysis, quivering, gout, insanity; an omen:
Its lack of a white bloom on Christmas day 1588
Set the wise women talking, brought me enduring night.