There were three each year
like buttons on the military waistcoat of our front lawn.
Roses - dad’s pride and joy -
standard style, shaped like the lollipops on sticks
that came with sherbet from the village shop.
Gobstopper delights of Apricot Abundance
and sun-centred, pink-edged Peace.
On Gala days,
their stakes supported the Wallace banner
its rebellious display flapping in time to our steps
as we paraded past
in our best dresses to picnic in the park.
Bordered by regimented rows of gladioli and dahlias
the garden’s familial sweetness permeated all things
imbuing my soul with his everlasting love.
I never knew the work they took,
where they came from or where they went,
but each summer
as regular as trips to the beach
they blessed our garden
Then robbed of him
their familiar presence haemorrhaged away
till all that remained was a blank canvass of expressionless lawn
and memories smelt in every rose.
© Sheila Ash, 2018