The poem ‘A Bunch of Roses’was written by Australian bush poet Andrew Barton “Banjo”Paterson in 1894. For a bush poet to write of roses which would have been scarce, precious and seasonal illustrates the powerful symbolism of roses associated with both love and death, and the evocative references to the scent of roses adds another dimension to this wonderful poem.

A Bunch Of Roses
Roses ruddy and roses white,
What are the joys that my heart discloses?
Sitting alone in the fading light
Memories come to me here tonight
With the wonderful scent of the big red roses.

Memories come as the daylight fades
Down on the hearth where the firelight dozes;
Flicker and flutter the lights and shades,
And I see the face of a queen of maids
Whose memory comes with the scent of roses.

Visions arise of a scent of mirth,
And a ball-room belle who superbly poses –
A queenly woman of queenly worth,
And I am the happiest man on earth
With a single flower from a bunch of roses.

Only her memory lives tonight –
God in his wisdom her young life closes;
Over her grave may the turf be light,
Cover her coffin with roses white
She was always fond of the big white roses.

* * * * *

Such are the visions that fade away –
Man proposes and God disposes;
Look in the glass and I see today
Only an old man, worn and grey,
Bending his head to a bunch of roses.

My painting “Just A Bunch of Roses” is featured in my Floribunda gallery here: