Shariyar invites me to walk.
The gardens are gripped by winter.
We walk a carpet of flowers,
with paths interlaced to provide
an intricate maze to navigate.
I tell the flying carpet story.
I see he loves to imagine
escaping earth, gaining distance,
give problems a new perspective.
Even those who never flew know
a mountain looks daunting from below
But from the top the world is small
and stars fall away.
I tell of mythical creatures,
half human, and of demons snared,
Of the serpent who wants to eat
the whole world and the man who craves
eternal life, but forgets to ensure
he asks the mage for eternal youth.
I tell him of Solomon,
with his army of thousands,
meeting with the Queen of the Ants.
He pays homage to her who has
more soldiers than he ever can.
He brings her majesty the gift
of a locust's leg.
I tell him the lives of the children
who made for profit this carpet garden
Their eyes start keen, their fingers nimble
But soon the flowers blur to blots
of colour, fingers stiffen to claws,
backs become curved as tortoises.
I tell him of the gardener
planting acorns, who will never see
The glory of the mature oak.
Who patiently cross-pollinates
to find new shades and scented blooms,
who rakes a pile of leaves to make
an ounce of fertile soil.
Jean Laurie lives in Whitley Bay and writes in between caring for four grandchildren.
She writes from a feminist perspective. She is inspired by her natural surroundings.
This poem came from thinking about the kings of Persia who commissioned vast carpets to create garden rooms in their palaces to walk on in winter, when their gardens were bare. Shariyar is the Sultan who killed his wives until Sharazed told him 1001 tales that taught him to rule wisely.
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Carpet of Roses © 2015 Jean Laurie: used with permission.
Copyright of this poem remains with the poet: please do not download or republish without permission.