know what they were saying so she had
to learn more words for the same things
everything she saw and felt became more
than Italian, more than Spanish, more than
language at all, then she learned to sign.
All of this was so easy at six and seven
and all the feelings were the same, just
different shades of red and blue and green
of tears and hunger and longing, and shoes,
of growing up in the country, all part of
growing a heart with a mind being shaped.
By what she could do, what she would do
for others while watching her world become
bigger, more beautiful, more complex, by
watching people growing into her hands,
and then away, able to stand in the sun and
wind, to bend and become able to give back.
Even if it was just a smile returned,
a hand held until they could both let go.
She had a simple name, a common one,
A noun and a verb all at once: Rose
In one place she would blossom as
Her colors swirled red, and pink, yellow
and orange, until their spin brought them
all together to become the magnificence
of them all, all her goodness, all her work,
all her problems solved in many solutions.
Until her leaves and petals began to fall
Into her roots, shared and stored in one
Winter holding its breath to let her
glory bloom again in early spring.
and all that was Rose will grow again,
will share all that she was with a single
blossom, the simple blending of all colors
into the vibrant shimmer of White, the
shared glory of one woman rising, in all
of her volunteers, on their own with the
beauty of the rose within themselves,
constantly becoming better, while showing
the way to be like a simple child, needing to
grow up curiously, to be giving like the Rose.
In memoriam for Rose Pierce
(Feb. 8, 1922 to April 4, 2006)
By Diane P. Lando, Poet Laureate