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Intractable between them grows

a garden of barbed wire and roses.

Burning briars like flames devour

their too innocent attire.

Dare they meet, the blackened wire

tears the intervening air.

Trespassers have wandered through

texture of flesh and petals.

Dogs like arrows moved along

pathways that their noses knew.

While the two who laid it out

find the metal and the flower

fatal underfoot.

Black and white at midnight glows

this garden of barbed wire and roses.

Doused with darkness roses burn

coolly as a rainy moon:

beneath a rainy moon or none

silver the sheath on barb and thorn.

Change the garden, scale and plan;

wall it, make it annual.

There the briary flower grew.

There the brambled wire ran.

While they sleep the garden grows,

deepest wish annuls the will:

perfect still the wire and rose.

The Metal and the Flower

P. K. Page

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