By Terri Clark
As the day devoted to love and its expression thereof approaches, who does not think of the perfect flower to say it WRIT LARGE. I speak of course of the long stemmed, blood red rose. Not pink or peach or cerise, but blood red. Chosen no doubt for this color’s resemblance to the very blood that beats fast and furious through the veins of lovers everywhere, the red rose has inspired poets through time immemorial.
When I was young and just beginning to explore amorous emotions, the yellow rose was my favorite. Yellow, like a new day emerging filled with vigor and endless possibility, probably contributed to this rose’s poetic meaning leaning to the frivolous, friendly and even flighty.
Then there is the pink rose in all its hues and shades. Pale pink just hints at romance, more in the guise of admiration but the deeper the pink tints become, the more passionate the feelings - heading for red one might surmise.
Citrusy orange can almost be dangerous with the recipient being drawn to the flame like an unsuspecting moth. It has such desire written all over its red-tipped petals that it brings a flush to the cheek just thinking about it.
Then there is the white rose, pure and pristine. A bouquet of these roses might indicate the innocence of the receiver or express the high esteem in which she is held. White rose buds, on the other hand, indicate youthful innocence, perfect for your favorite younger girl.
But on Valentine’s Day, named we think for a martyred Roman priest during the reign of Claudius II who had the audacity to marry Christians, we naturally are drawn to the red rose. Our heart keeps us alive by pumping beat by beat, day after day. It races when we are in love raising every sense we possess to their heights. Chief among these are scent and sight. The red rose embodies both.
Roses as metaphor have survived for centuries through the written word and still touch a chord.
From Shakespeare to Robbie Burns – who could say it better?
O, my love is like a red, red rose,
That is newly sprung in June.
O, my love is like the melody,
That is sweetly played in tune.
As fair are you, my lovely lass,
So deep in love am I,
And I will love you still, my Dear,
Till all the seas go dry.
Till all the seas go dry, my Dear,
And the rocks melt with the sun!
O I will love you still, my Dear,
While the sands of life shall run.
And fare you well, my only Love,
And fare you well a while!
And I will come again, my Love,
Although it were ten thousand mile!
"What's in a name? That which we call a rose
by any other name would smell as sweet."
Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare