Christmas Rose

by Paul Hooker

Lo, how a Rose e’er blooming from tender stem hath sprung!
— Traditional German Carol
Were there roses before there were thorns?
Or did thorns give rise to roses?
Rilke said, 
Denn das Schöne ist nichts als des Schrecklichen Anfang…. *

And Stevens, 
“Death is the mother of beauty….”
I say 
blood and beauty are identical twins
born of love, and laid in a manger.
And to love is to live 
and to live is to die
and to die is to love. 
I have held a rose.
I have been pierced by thorns.
Truth has not one nature
but two.
* “For beauty is nothing other than the beginning of terror.”