Golden

And so the old man told me

Of a story from the ancient days,

One that he had experienced

And found to ring true.

When asked what this story was

He would only smile and say:

Have you ever noticed how a golden cactus flower,

No matter how delicate,

Beautiful,

Or pristine,

Is protected by the sharpest of nature's spines?

No matter how lovely it seems on the bush

Once you pluck it you begin to see

Maybe it wasn't the best idea

To take this object from it's rightful place.

You see the red of your blood

Dribble onto the flower's soft petals

And stain it deep purple,

But how soon we forget we bled there at all.

That is until the throbbing pain

From when you snatched it to you

Returns to your fingertips

And your flower

Has withered away

Has turned to dust

And no longer is the beautiful creation it was on the bush.

So instead of forcing the flower away from its protector with our bare skin,

We quickly learn that thick, tough gloves save us the pain

So why wouldn't we wear them when taking this delicate masterpiece of nature's design?

Skirt around the edges, dear ones

Be careful where you strike,

For gloves only cover so much skin

And if you extend past that

The thorns rejoice.

But once in our lifetime

We see a golden cactus flower

That we simply can't resist

And charge in without thinking,

However normal

Or ugly and dead

It seems to others.

As we grasp our prize,

Intent on seeing its beauty

We realize too late that our hands and arms sting

And instead of tan, they are drenched in sticky crimson.

However,

If this flower, full in bloom, is truly beautiful

And unlike its fellows will never wilt,

It would be worth it,

And the beauty of that golden flower would stay with you for eternity.

I asked him then

Where was his flower?

He sighed and looked out the

Frost-clouded window

At the dull sunlight

Coming through.

His flower,

He said,

Was locked away

And never again would see the light of day.

Under the Earth it would lay forever

Until the day when no dirt was left

In which it could reside.

Is it still in bloom?

Was my question to him.

He looked at me and smiled gently.

Forever

He said,

It's color has never dulled, its beauty never diminished.

But it itself

Could not be looked upon any longer.