Rose Thorns

By Molly McQuade Molly McQuade
Why do roses need their thorns?   
Some things are little known.   
But thorns of roses   
spring and seize the surface   
of  fey airs   
before the roses come.   
I’ve seen thorns huddle in a harmony alone,
hunkered down on green, wiry canes,   
smoothed blades of whipping rose stalks,   
and curl their polished tridents   
to night’s call.   
They are like stars   
digging into firmament   
with such desire,
you don’t quite get it,   
and so healthy that   
they almost have to wound,   
or like bodies that can’t be argued,   
borrowed, tamed.   
The touch of a thorn   
is a wry, deep telling   
of the senses not to bloom
without a wish to,   
without belief  in pain   
to hold us true.

Source: Poetry (February 2008).


This poem originally appeared in the February 2008 issue of Poetry magazine

February 2008
 Molly  McQuade


Molly McQuade is writing a letter to Edgar Lee Masters as part of her job as a columnist for the American Library Association. Her books include Barbarism, a collection of her poetry; Stealing Glimpses, a collection of her essays about poetry; and By Herself, an edited anthology of essays about poetry by contemporary women poets.

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Poems by Molly McQuade

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Nature, Trees & Flowers

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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