A Birthday Brightener

A Birthday Brightener

We all have years that mark changes in our progress – times when the old calls for celebration coincide with urgencies we have not noticed in the past. 1979 was a significant year for me. It was also the year I was forty-seven years old. Everyone who works with Terrific Mentors knows that forty-seven is a critical year for any career person. I had to make some big and far-reaching decisions. I won’t go into them now and I will never know if, overall and on balance, I made good or bad decisions. Some were excellent, some disastrous.

I wrote a verse that year. I never published it because I was looking for a picture to illustrate it. My picture came up the other day and Hugh Purser, who took it, is kindly allowing me to use it below. Many thanks, Hugh.

The verse, you will see, is dedicated to a person. So why publish it on the eve of Singapore’s 58th birthday? Because you will get the sense of struggle I was having when I wrote it. It’s a struggle most people have. I thought the verse might be suitable for dedication to a country as well as to a person. A country is, after all, a living collaboration of people.

“The Eternal Rose” is dedicated to Singapore for a Happy and Reflective Birthday.

The Eternal Rose

I watched the bud begin to swell
firm, like the breast a young girl knows
before she turns into a belle,
before this turns into a rose.

The very breath of life is there
shimmering pink from head to toes.
And purest when the breast is bare
and humblest when it’s just a rose.

Full bloom, the open petals seem
so like a mouth, do you suppose
it’s really such a silly dream
to think that one might kiss a rose?

The Summer sunshine stirs my heart.
A longing love my look bestows.
I know that I can never part
from her or from my wondrous rose.

But Autumn brings its quiet decline.
The days draw in to early close.
And must I lose this love of mine?
And must I lose my lovely rose?

Next year, perhaps, the April rain
will bring another bud, who knows?
Another love to bring more pain?
Or, best of all, another rose?

So shall I always look in vain
for love so deep it flows and shows?
No, I need never seek again.
God gave me an Eternal Rose.

Verse by John Bittleston 1979 2023 Picture by Hugh Purser


Good morning

John Bittleston


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08 August 2023