Full many a flow'r is born to blush unseen
and waste its sweetness on the desert air.
~ Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard. Thomas Gray.
In the front yard, a plain hibiscus blooms;
the rose’s glamour is on show at the back.
The gardener does not enter my rooms
he knocks, and I open the door a crack.
The guests wipe their feet on the front door mat
but the hibiscus twists shut by then;
it’s a simple short-lived, no-perfume format
rather like a pebble in the garden;
a pebble splashes only when it drops
a few ripples and the surface is blanked;
the rose meanwhile preens its bushy red mop
the closed hibiscus lies wholly outranked.
But just the gardener and I see the showsif no-one sees it bloom, is it still a rose?