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This poem is taken from PN Review 50, Volume 12 Number 6, July - August 1986.

Poems Alison Brackenbury

CHRISTMAS ROSES

December. By now, the catalogues will have been sent:
the seeds, the huge Dutch bulbs, and - all that mattered -
     the roses.
Remember them in our offices, spilling off chairs?
on the cover, some lemon-tipped miniature,
or, in a bad year, the latest Mauve Wonder?
Whoever wanted a purple rose? Anyone - sitting in
   slippers,
or in scuffed boots, gulping dark tea or gold whisky,
who turns, at last, to their catalogue; sees there, my
    asterisked name.

For I am on every list. I bred one rose,
with finest tints of apple-flower. I died two years ago.

When I was young there were orchards everywhere: tended.
Then cows were turned in them, square and silk,
...


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