I began composing the following poem during a Sunday afternoon walk, when I noticed the above flowers, among others, floating in the lake at the center of a local park where a wedding party was gathered in defiance of the threat of rain.
With pride that she is drawing strangers’ eyes
And parting them around her ruffled wake,
An earnest bride dismisses stormy skies
To start her fairytale beside the lake.
She holds the gaudy remnants of bouquets
Insisting each discarded bud bestows
An honor, though she knows if held for days
The roses would distinctly decompose.
A passerby may recognize the way
She took, but not by looking at the path.
Instead, the lakeshore places on display
The wedding’s brightly scattered aftermath.
The petals soon are half-concealed in mud
Or sunken in the distance like a stone.
The red begins to seep away like blood,
While white protrudes as if a broken bone.
The flowers may look lovely on descent
And flutter through the air like butterflies,
But just like everything that’s heaven-sent
The picture-perfect staging swiftly dies.
Some dreamers’ careful planning may portend
A beautiful experience they crave,
Begun by disregarding what depends
On sending further beauty to its grave.
And so it is with these, the bride and groom.
Before they settle in their marriage bed
Reminders must be absent from their room
Of gardens that were slaughtered in their stead.
It seems the roses must be tossed away
In that brief moment at the quiet heart
Of ceremony ‘fore the lovers say
The chilling final words, “death do us part.”