Roses weave a thread throughout #SeasOfSnow. White roses (of the genus ‘Little White Pet’) take on significance, as faded petals are discovered in the nursing home in the book – a crumpled, delicate, physical link to a time of innocence lost.
There is a William Blake poem called The Sick Rose which is controversial and compelling in equal measure. I first came across it while studying Songs of Innocence and Experience for my English Literature ‘A’ Level. I wrote an extended essay on the poetry. It has stayed with me ever since and reproduced it here with the photographs below.
In #SeasOfSnow, Gracie discovers that the poet Rainer Maria Rilke wrote his own epitaph and becomes inspired to do something similar. I was struck while researching Rilke at University to discover that he had apparently died from an infection contracted after pricking himself with a rose thorn. Roses seem silent companions in life and death through literature – and Rilke’s story forged a link for me back to the Blake poem. Seas of Snow brings these contrasting themes together.