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ROSES

In company with the aphid and the caterpillar
I have planted roses in the garden this year
instead of writing poems
the centifolia from the house in mourning at
Ayios Thomas
the sixty-petaled rose Midas brought from Phrygia
the Banksian that came from China
cuttings from the last mouchette that survived
in the old town,
but especially Rosa Gallica, brought by the
Crusaders
(otherwise known as damascene)
with its exquisite perfume.
In company with the aphid and the caterpillar
but also the spider mite, the tiger moth, the
leaf miner,
the rose chafer and the hover-fly,
the praying mantis that devours them all,
we shall be sharing leaves, petals, sky,
in this incredible garden,
both they and I transitory.

Translation: Stephanos Stephanides

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