The path beyond the garden gate
 Weaves 'round the olive trees
And leads to where the flowers sway
 Upon a gentle breeze.

Behind the heads of crimson red
 And periwinkle blue,
A thicket creeps the mossy wall
 Without a bloom in view.

It lends no beauty to the path
 Or boulders it adorns,
But spreads in tangled disarray
 Of brushwood, leaves and thorns.

But once upon another time
 This scene was not the same―
The thicket flourished in the spring
 With roses fraught with fame.

Its blooms were largest ever seen
 With petals gleaming white
And all who walked the garden path
 Would marvel at the sight.

Then one year an early frost
 Befell the flower beds
And muted shades of gold and brown
 Replaced the blues and reds.

The twisted thicket thus surmised
 If it bloomed in fall
Its blossoms would look grander still
 Against the garden wall.

So when the summer came to pass,
 The buds would bide their time
And burst against the autumn hues
 In splendor most sublime.

Yet even as the blooms unfurled
 Beneath a harvest moon,
The vines considered once again
 Perhaps they'd shone too soon.

Since autumn proved a better time
 To let the blossoms shine,
Their splendor later in the year
 Would surely look divine.

Thus earthly colors came and passed
 Without a single rose,
Until the garden paths were white
 With light and drifting snows.

But when the tendrils ventured forth
 To punctuate the sheen, 
Their blossoms blended with the frost
 And nary could be seen.

No longer was the thicket known
 For roses to enthrall,
But as a tangled mass of thorns
 Along the garden wall.

One springtide eve a stranger came 
 And strolled among the trees
To shed a tear and float a prayer
 Upon the fragrant breeze.

He gazed upon the fruitless vines
 Behind buds red and blue
And wondered why no roses thrived
 As they were meant to do.

Late that night some shadows fell
 To bring the stranger down;
They pulled vines from the thicket's heart
 And wove a thorny crown.

A legend sprang to life that night
 And garnered deep disdain
For how God's beauty once denied
 Brought misery and pain.

And to this day the Winter Rose
 Blooms pink against the snow,
Its petals blushed with ancient shame
 From choices long ago.