The Rose Fields (Short Poem)

Strolling the rose fields,
soft fragrance crystallised in memory
of a speckled sea of rich colours, pausing —
touching in balmy stillness.

Poem and painting Copyright Francis 2021

Poem: The Rose Fields

red garden plant green
Photo by Pixabay on

We thought the rose fields
were at their best in September
when the kids were back at school
when there could still a few fine days.

For some weeks
which seem like months to me now,
we set out on fair days
down the road of my youth
over the little hump-backed bridge
where the smallholder lived
who gave Dad a job,
towards the leafy corner
where a row of rushing poplars
ushered us to the nestling house
where spinsters once lived,
together with two scrawny cats.

Not far from there,
after that slight rise in the road
which you couldn’t call a hill,
that’s where it all opened up,
a sudden splash of colour
like some pink and red,
a talking point and an uplifting sight,
like one of my expressive canvases,
brushes dispensed for palette knife
or fingers, even a stick.
And we stayed
for as long as your hip could stand it,
for as long as I thought
I could stand the grief
on that slow walk back home.
But this was our highlight,
a little outing as the days drew in.

copyright Francis Barker 2019

Poem ‘Mrs Wright’

Holland Cemetery: A rural cemetery in northeas...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mrs Wright

We approached her, standing stiffly
outside her cottage on the corner,
while she tended those remaining roses.

The sun was in his fall
with Michaelmas giving way to cooler winds.
She turned with some difficulty,

but still greeted us with a bespectacled smile.
She always had time, especially for me
and her roses, her world seeming slow

and certain, just like the green bus
we caught that hour on the bridge.
By the time we got back,

tired and ladened with groceries,
the sun was still out, sinking intensely
over the evergreen cemetery.

We saw no sign of the ambulance,
or the policeman’s bicycle.
Not even her son’s hastily parked car.

There was only a flutter
in the curtains across the road
as we struggled on by.

Such had been her last afternoon
upon which we had paused.
We hurried home having no idea,

doing up our light coats
in the stiffening breeze.

poem © copyright df barker 2012, first published in poetry collection ‘Anonymous Lines’, available digitally at and (latter for the book itself).