The Soul of the Rose, Robert A. Sieczkiewicz
My mortal body lies beyond this wall
Yet my spirit of heart remains with thee
As wind carries thy scented roses’ call
Whilst each breath thou taketh sets my heart free.
Thy pure hand touches cool gray wall hither.
Was choice which was not for me to maketh
Heart with thee would have chosen to wither
‘Til the moment whence final breath we taketh
Ever so gently cup thy silken hand
To caress my forever loving heart.
Forever your tender kiss I’ve been banned
As thou holds this rose we shall never part.
Should thy flame for me soon start to flutter
I will understand go to another.
The name of the painting is The Soul of the Rose. Yes, it is a cabbage rose and yes it is done by none other than John William Waterhouse. To me the paintings of Waterhouse provide excitement even though I have found him to take certain liberties. One such example is his painting Miranda – The Tempest, which he did in 1916. A beautiful painting of Shakespeare’s The Tempest. His painting Miranda, which he did in 1875 is more plausible but less exciting. Will tackle this poem at a date soon.
The soul of the Rose done by Waterhouse is one of few paintings of his not tied to a poem, mythology or commission. A simple painting, yes? No. Look at what she is doing. With one had she is feeling and smelling a rose. The silkiness of its petals and smelling the essence of the rose’s oils which are intoxicating making her mind wander. But her left hand is anchored to the cool gray wall of reality.
In the poem there are a couple of possibilities. The speaker is really buried on the other side of the wall or just away on a long long absence. The speaker links the rose to him and the gray wall is the issue that separates them. Each day they are apart it feels like forever and he is unable to kiss her and if it were his choice he would be with her until the both take their last dying breath. But the speaker understands that she is young and beautiful and should she have feelings for another he will understand.