Die a death of roses,
Die a death of steel,
Die a death of metal thorns,
Die a death for real,

Fly away from troubles,
Fly away from life,
Fly away from effort,
Fly away from strife,

An end to suffering,
An end to pain,
An end to all the sorrow,
An end to all that might be gained,

Live with thorns and see the roses bloom,
Live with pain outside the tomb,
Die with thorns to end the sting,
Die without thought of what new blossoms might bring.

Better to live a hundred empty lives,
Than to die by a hundred thorny knives,
Knowing that you died a death of roses;

Better to starve for a thousand days,
Than to suffer for a blossom that would not stay;

Better to be cut by a thousand blades,
Than to watch your rose leave your shade;

Better to live a hundred lonely years,
Than to die by a hundred slow lonely tears,
Knowing that you died a death of roses.

Yet loneliness and emptyness can obscure a flame,
Hopelessness and helplessness can lead to pointless shame,
Thorns ignored begin to wrend flesh and poison marrow,
Left embedded such barbs do one's eyesight narrow,
In the garden fresh soil awaits in a hidden place,
Secret is this tilled ground, often concealed from the gardener's face,
The seeds of hope have been sown in this silent space,
Perhaps one day the gardener shall find a new rose blooming in their place.

Lest the weeds of bitterness and desperation overrun this land,
Keep it healthy and strong and free,
Lest fertile ground give way to shifting sand.

05/13/2003