A rose within a crystal glass,
A rose to wither and to pass,
Its beauty fades, its glory goes,
I know no way to keep a rose.
And yet there is a rose that blooms
Forever more in quiet rooms.
A rose within a fairer vase
Than purchased in the market place.
The rose is love, the vase the home,
A rose that blossoms when we roam,
And when returned one rose God made
That need not wither, need not fade.
And yet to keep that one rose fair
The heart must also give it care,
Must nurture it with things like this:
The morning smile, the goodnight kiss.
Aye, this is all this red rose needs:
Words of affection, helpful deeds,
Labors divided, burdens shared,
And eyes that looked as if they care.
The rose of love will bow its head
In rooms where angry words are said
That rose will brave the wintry sky
But when hearts drool, that rose will die.
If you the rose of love possess
Keep it alive with tenderness
And crystal – pure – with gentle hands
The vase called home in which it stands.
There is one rose, the rose of love,
You need not know the fading of
A rose that’s watered day by day
You never need to throw away.
This poem, by Douglas Mallock, is very special to me because Steve wrote it out for me when we were engaged. The best part about a long-distance courtship is putting time and thought into written (or emailed) communication. I have a huge binder of our love letters to each other during the eight months from our first lunch date until our wedding day, and a much smaller (yet growing) binder of our letters in the eight years since then. I think we’ll probably add to our collection today. Happy Valentine’s Day!