Rose of Sharon 

By Tara Bergin

Many men, I imagine, will want to give you this flower.
They will want to place it on your pillow;
they will want to pin it on the door of your tent,
because you loved them in a way they didn’t expect.
Sometimes it turned out bad;
sometimes it didn’t.
But the rose of Sharon isn’t what you’d expect.
It hasn’t got the head of a dog, or the head of a cat.
This flower is small and yellow and wise,
and its tiny open face is crammed with stamens;
little arms that reach out towards us like lights.

Many men I imagine
will want to give you this flower.
They will beg you to use it to heal them.
You will not say no,
but you will not say yes.

You will say:
Look at this picture carefully.
What can you see?

You will say:
The fire burned for five days.
You will say:
Can you draw the houses on fire?
Then you will peel off all your clothes,
and walk into the water,
while they gaze from the shore,
clutching your sweet-smelling clothes
as a memento.



Tara Bergin is from Dublin. Her first collection of poems, This is Yarrow, was published by Carcanet in 2013, and was awarded the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry Prize, and the Irish Shine/Strong Award for best first collection by an Irish author. She lives in the North of England.