It happened once
on a brisk fall day
so very nearby,
that a man picked a rose.
The rose was like every other,
crimson and soft,
and so delicate that one single movement
could break the rose in two
and scatter crimson petals into the sun
like so many October leaves.
But the man picked the rose,
and every so slowly he raised her up
out from the tangle of thorns where she had grown.
Why did he do this? Nobody knows.
The rose spoke, “don’t you know what you’ve done?”
“I’ve picked you from the backyard,” answered the man.
“You silly old fool, you’ve allowed the ending to begin.”
“Had it not already?”
“No, before was only the beginning,
but now you’ve gone and ruined it.”
“I’m terribly sorry, but you are too beautiful to resist.”
“I am no more beautiful than any other rose in this garden.
If you think me wrong then you must truly be a fool.”
“You are beautiful, and intelligent, and skilled,
but you are wrong.”
“If I am to be wrong, then you are to be a fool
and I shall call you so.”
“So I am your fool, but I have no name for you.”
“I am too wild to be named.”
“But I must call you something!”
“Then call me what I am and nothing else,
I will be your Rose.”
“Ah, my beautiful Rose!
None is more lovely than you!”
“But now that I have been picked
I will soon reach the end.”
“I’m so very sorry for what I’ve done,
but I could not resist temptation when it called.”
“Worry little, in the end it matters not.
My life is a short one,
I will wither away before I see snow.
My life will be toiled in sunlight and mud
until I fade to brown and crumble away.”
“Who says your life must be thrown away!
Use the time you’ve been given in life
to do something that will never be forgotten.”
“But life is not meant to be spent,
it cannot be traded for goods nor service.”
“And who says it cannot?”
“You fool, life is worth less than the mud.
Life is cheaply given, and more easily wasted.”
“Yet a night in a bed or a seed tossed aside
could give a life to be taken.”
“But to give your life to someone else,
to love them with everything you have,
surely that is not a life wasted.”
“Oh, you silly old fool.
Your head is filled with life.”
“When you call me a fool
it only makes my heart flutter.
How I love you so,
I wish to show you how life can be spent.
Please dance with me, my Rose.”
“We cannot dance,
for if we did then the end would come far to soon.”
“Then let me love you,
and I promise I will never ask to dance again.”
“It all rests in your hands,
I cannot stop you from loving me,
you silly old fool.”
“If you were to tell me to stop,
then I believe I could, for you.”
“If you stopped loving me for the sake of me,
then you’d only end up picking me again.”
“Then I would go far, far away,
someplace the sun doesn’t touch,
and I may never love you again.”
“But your heart would only grow fonder,
and each day you’d wish for nothing but the sight of me.”
“Indeed, I would suffer each day and night,
but I would do it for love.”
“Then you’d be a miserable fool.”
“To make you happy
would make me the happiest fool alive.”
“Then stay by my side,
and do not leave me until the end.
In the end, when we have nothing left,
then we may dance.”
“To dance with you only once before you leave,
to know that I’ll never again feel your touch,
surely I would fall apart?
And yet, I think it would be worth it
if only to have the pleasure
of being crushed under your feet
and scattered in the sky like so many stars.”
The fool held out a hand to the rose,
and so they danced under the sun,
and the song came to an end,
and the fool fell to pieces.
The fool wept with an emotion too wild to be named,
and crystal tears ran down the rose’s satin gown.
“Oh, you silly old fool.
Stand so I can kiss you goodbye.”
“But my dear and wonderful Rose,
my legs shake too much for me to stand before you.”
“Then let me kneel so I may look you in the eyes.”
“But your beautiful dress!
You will stain in in the mud!”
“My dress is worn brown and torn with age,
if you were not so blinded by love you would see
that I gave you my life long, long ago,
and my beauty withered even longer before.”
You’re still as brilliant as the moment I picked you,
and still your beauty only grows.”
“Then in your eyes I shall always be beautiful.”
“If the world cannot see how beautiful you are,
then the world must be the old fool.”
“None is more foolish
than the man who thinks himself
greater than the world.”
“Then I am the most foolish,
and I am also the greatest.”
“What would the world say
if it heard you saying such things!?”
“Oh, but my dear,
there is no one for me in the world but you,
therefore you must be my world.
But I am not greater than you in beauty,
nor intelligence, nor skill.
And so, the old fool becomes you.”
“We were both fools from the beginning.
And soon I will be gone,
the end approaches for me,
but what of the man?
What of the silly old fool I’ve grown to love?
A man who is loved by the world,
surely his life has not been wasted?”
for if a man loves the world
and the world loves him back,
then he has given his life for a love like no other.”
“You are loved, you silly old fool.”