The Rose

By Jean Valentine b. 1934 Jean Valentine
a labyrinth,
as if at its center,
god would be there—
but at the center, only rose,
where rose came from,   
where rose grows—
& us, inside of the lips & lips:
the likenesses, the eyes, & the hair,
we are born of,
fed by, & marry with,
only flesh itself, only its passage
—out of where?    to where?

Then god the mother said to Jim, in a dream,
Never mind you, Jim,
come rest again on the country porch of my knees.

Jean Valentine, "The Rose" from Little Boat © 2007 by Jean Valentine and reprinted by permission of Wesleyan University Press. www.wesleyan.edu/wespress

Source: Little Boat (Wesleyan University Press, 2007)

Discover this poem’s context and related poetry, articles, and media.

Poet Jean Valentine b. 1934

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Subjects The Body, Religion, Nature, God & the Divine

Poetic Terms Metaphor

 Jean  Valentine

Biography

A longtime resident of New York City, Jean Valentine was named the State Poet of New York in 2008. Her first book of poems, Dream Barker and Other Poems, won the Yale Series of Younger Poets Award in 1965. Subsequent collections of poems include The River at Wolf (1992), Little Boat (2007), and Door in the Mountain: New and Collected Poems, 1965–2003, which won the National Book Award in 2004.

Her lyric poems delve into dream . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT The Body, Religion, Nature, God & the Divine

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Poetic Terms Metaphor

Report a problem with this poem

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.