Roses in vase

Dedicated to David Ruston after reading "A Life with Roses"

Fluted epergnes and little lidded caskets
Pitchers and ewers and rustic ribbed baskets
A Sussex trug, a weathered milk urn
An ironstone jug, and old butter churn
An Art Deco canoe and for a touch of pizzazz-a
An Edwardian surtout and a thing called a tazza.

Elegant ruby glass, serene ‘gainst the light
‘End of day’ contrasts, kaleidoscope-bright
Heavy lead crystal and carved alabaster
Handled with care to avoid a disaster
The pleasing contours of an old soup tureen
And of celadon ware, opaquely sea-green.

Humble earthenware now all crazed
Majolica ware that’s seen better days
Stoneware once home to stored Chinese ginger
Small bowls once used to rinse a finger
Pickle jars sunned to an amethyst hue
Old chamber pots, reinvented anew.

A coal shuttle of interesting shape
A wine cooler to enhance the taste of the grape
A dipper from days of doing it rough
A genuine old wooden bread-making trough
Great-grandmother’s enamel preserving pan
Washing-up dish and watering can.

Miscellaneous pewter in sombrest grey
Cheap painted tin ware to brighten the day
Homely teapots, minus a lid
Glued-together toilet jugs, all flaws hid
Kettles and saucepans and stockpots too
Even an old chipped bread crock will do.

Flow-blue china merging in pattern
Old druggists’ jars inscribed in Latin
Genuine English silver rose bowls
Criss-crossed all over with neat latticed holes
Decorative cache-pots designed to hide
The commonplace vessels concealed inside.

Jardinières imported of Indian brass
Arts & Crafts copper ones wrought with panache
Ceramics and pottery sourced from afar
Not forgetting that rare Russian samovar
Bronze incense burners from the temples they served
Art Nouveau jugs sinuously curved.

To mention accessories could go on forever
From the unusual choice of an ostrich feather
To coral and shells and stars of the sea
Birds’ nests and eggs and moss and fungi
Plus pumpkins and grapes and slices of melons
And skewered-on halves of blood oranges and lemons.

Autumn-toned corn cobs and damsons blue
Pomegranates and medlars and persimmons too
Drooping pink berries from an old pepper tree
Versatile rose hips, gathered for free
Unusual sunflowers of mahogany and brown
Crabapple clusters which like to hang down
Artichokes and gourds and dried summer grasses
Driftwood and gum nuts and quinces on branches.

Wendy Langton, Adelaide

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