The path beyond the garden gate Weaves 'round the olive trees And leads to where the flowers sway Upon a gentle breeze. Behind the heads of crimson red And periwinkle blue, A thicket creeps the mossy wall Without a bloom in view. It lends no beauty to the path Or boulders it adorns, But spreads in tangled disarray Of brushwood, leaves and thorns. But once upon another time This scene was not the same― The thicket flourished in the spring With roses fraught with fame. Its blooms were largest ever seen With petals gleaming white And all who walked the garden path Would marvel at the sight. Then one year an early frost Befell the flower beds And muted shades of gold and brown Replaced the blues and reds. The twisted thicket thus surmised If it bloomed in fall Its blossoms would look grander still Against the garden wall. So when the summer came to pass, The buds would bide their time And burst against the autumn hues In splendor most sublime. Yet even as the blooms unfurled Beneath a harvest moon, The vines considered once again Perhaps they'd shone too soon. Since autumn proved a better time To let the blossoms shine, Their splendor later in the year Would surely look divine. Thus earthly colors came and passed Without a single rose, Until the garden paths were white With light and drifting snows. But when the tendrils ventured forth To punctuate the sheen, Their blossoms blended with the frost And nary could be seen. No longer was the thicket known For roses to enthrall, But as a tangled mass of thorns Along the garden wall. One springtide eve a stranger came And strolled among the trees To shed a tear and float a prayer Upon the fragrant breeze. He gazed upon the fruitless vines Behind buds red and blue And wondered why no roses thrived As they were meant to do. Late that night some shadows fell To bring the stranger down; They pulled vines from the thicket's heart And wove a thorny crown. A legend sprang to life that night And garnered deep disdain For how God's beauty once denied Brought misery and pain. And to this day the Winter Rose Blooms pink against the snow, Its petals blushed with ancient shame From choices long ago.
THE LEGEND OF THE WINTER ROSE By Kenn Allan. Artist Robert Laessig