Two ways of painting the picture

by Sophia Tait

There is a tall, straight vase on the table
full of yellow-topped orange tulips.
Two are tall, but one of those is bent
over the edge of the vase, dwarfing itself.
Three stand at medium height together,
with a small one tucked around the back,
and another, still smaller, in the very middle.
Rennie Mackintosh roses are drawn
in frosted white glass on one side of the thin vase,
their curving angles intertwining.
The water, misted with much-diluted flower food,
supports the slightly curved, soft,
and slender, pale-green stems.
Pink-orange cups, coloured like a sorbet,
or a sunset, or rosy-tinted autumn trees,
full of yellow that’s overflowed, staining the petals;
supported by slim, satiny, light-streaked stems,
curved like a swan’s elegantly long neck-
but mute swans, since the wide-open flowers
appear to be singing, but no sound comes out.
They’re all different heights, like a family, perhaps,
with their baby, trimmed tiny, nestled in the middle.
The sharp angles of the tall, thin vase, with the
strange triangularity of it’s up-down edges,
gently echo the the slightly softer lines of the roses
etched onto the glass by a permanent Jack Frost.