Like Christmas, Easter has a real meaning to me that far surpasses chocolate eggs and fluffy bunnies. I started this page without really knowing where it would end up. I had a wonderful magazine photo of roses which I really wanted to use, so in that went. After colouring the facing page and adding a gesso vignette, I searched online for a longer piece of text than a trite quote extolling the ‘romance’ of the flower.
I stumbled on this poem, which I’ve not come across before, by George Eliot. Nothing trite or romantic here as she explores the colour, thorns and fragrance in a stunning metaphor so in keeping with the true Easter story:
I went to gather roses and twine them in a ring,
For I would make a posy, a posy for the King.
I got an hundred roses, the loveliest there be,
From the white rose vine and the pink rose bush and from the red rose tree.
But when I took my posy and laid it at His feet
I found He had His roses a million times more sweet.
There was a scarlet blossom upon each foot and hand,
And a great pink rose bloomed from His side for the healing of the land.
Now of this fair and awful King there is this marvel told,
That He wears a crown of linked thorns instead of one of gold.
Where there are thorns are roses, and I saw a line of red,
A little wreath of roses around His radiant head.
A red rose is His Sacred Heart, a white rose is His face,
And His breath has turned the barren world to a rich and flowery place.
He is the Rose of Sharon, His gardener am I,
And I shall drink His fragrance in Heaven when I die.