The Rose

I remember a day when I stood on the sea shore at Nice, holding a scarlet rose in my hands.

The calm sea, caressed by the sun, was brightly garmented in blue, veiled in gold, and violet, verging on silver.

Gently the waves lapped the shore, and scattering into pearls, emeralds and opals, hastened towards my feet with a monotonous, rhythmical sound, like the prolonged note of a single harp–string.

High in the clear, blue–golden sky hung the great, burning disc of the sun.

White seagulls hovered above the waves, now barely touching them with their snow–white breasts, now rising anew into the heights, like butterflies over the green meadows…

Far in the east, a ship, trailing its smoke, glided slowly from sight as though it had foundered in the waste.

I threw the rose into the sea, and watched it, caught in the wave, receding, red on the snow–white foam, paler on the emerald wave.

And the sea continued to return it to me, again and again, at last no longer a flower, but strewn petals on restless water.

So with the heart, and with all proud things. In the end nothing remains but a handful of petals of what was once a proud flower…

John Cournos after K. Tetmaier