R. A. MacAvoy on the meaning of a rose

"Neve og rose" ("Fist and rose") by Ola Enstad
Image credit: Grzegorz Wysocki

San Francisco was ten degrees cooler than the peninsula, though the same dry, Italianate sun shone. A large gull flew past them along Van Ness, strafing the cars. Having just crossed Turk Street, Mayland Long spied something on the sidewalk and bent to pick it up.

It was a red rose bud, its petals disarranged, the stem half torn through where a pin had pulled out. He grunted and smoothed it out as though it were wrinkled cloth. “The rose,” he announced. “Loveliest and most formidable of flowers. Arms of York and Lancaster. In medieval times, symbol of Jesus. Always, it has meant beauty, love, peace…”

He presented the bud to Martha Macnamara. It lay resting on his long fingers until she scooped it up. She sniffed it and held it up in the light.

“Symbol? What’s a symbol? This is a rose.” She smiled and walked on.
R. A. MacAvoy in Tea with the Black Dragon, p. 46-7.

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"San Francisco was ten degrees cooler than the peninsula"


  • Changed “He grunted and smooted it out” to “He grunted and smoothed it out” [ gf 12.27.2009 early am @ Shoal Creek, ATX ]
R. A. Macavoy Posted on behalf of on Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009 under Quotations.

One comment so far

  1. Interestingly, it was not far from there that one night at midnight a man dressed as a sheikh rushed at me with open arms and a fierce expression. I sidestepped him and went into Mel’s.

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