Roses on My Path – white heartbreaker

It’s not surprising that people have written poems about roses. Bonnie Prince Charlie made a five-petaled rose the symbol of Scotland, and Hugh MacDiarmid wrote this poem in the 20th Century. He refers in the first line to a poem by Yeats, in which the opening line mentions a “rose of all the world.”

*   *   *   *   *

The Little White Rose

Jacobite rose lapel pin

By Hugh MacDiarmid

The rose of all the world is not for me.
I want for my part
Only the little white rose of Scotland
That smells sharp and sweet—and breaks the heart.
*   *   *   *   *

The image is still popular among Scottish nationalists, and as a symbol it’s available as jewelry. U.K. Gardeners who talk about the rose say, “The Jacobite rose dates back to the 16th century, and is the double form of the White Rose of York, Rosa x alba which, in turn, is descended partly from the dog rose, R. canina. It has the same vigour and resistance to disease of truly wild roses, but the blooms have a more cultivated appearance, fragrant and creamy white with charmingly muddled centres.”rose white El Av stamens 3

I don’t claim that this rose from my neighborhood is the same, but it looks very like the ones pictured online, and it feels to me able, without the help of any patriotic fervor whatsoever, to break a heart.

5 thoughts on “Roses on My Path – white heartbreaker

  1. Yours has a very creamy look, like a gardenia. I love the description: “with charmingly muddled centres.” Somehow that struck me humorous. Do humans sometimes have charmingly muddled centers?


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