Take Heart: A Conversation in Poetry: Roses

Edited and introduced by Wesley McNair, Maine Poet Laureate

Roses have long been associated with love, but seldom so movingly as in this sonnet by Thomas Carper of Cornish.

Roses by Thomas Carper

During the night of fever, as she lay
Between an exhausted wakefulness and sleep,
I sat beside her fearfully, in dismay
When her slow breathing would become so deep
It seemed that she might slip beyond recall.
Then I would touch her; then she would revive;
Then, when her eyelids opened and a small
Smile would greet me, hope would come alive.
With morning, the ordeal was over. Gone
Was every trace of illness. A soft rain
Had swept across the countryside at dawn,
So even our garden was made fresh again.
Then Janet went among our roses where
She and the roses shone in luminous air.

Take Heart: A Conversation in Poetry is produced in collaboration with the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. Poem copyright © 2004 by Thomas Carper. Reprinted from Fiddle Lane, Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991, by permission of Thomas Carper. Questions about submitting to Take Heart may be directed to David Turner, Special Assistant to the Maine Poet Laureate, at 207-228-8263 or poetlaureate@mainewriters.org.