Sure, we know that this poem is about roses. But aren't all roses the same? And haven't we read, like, 87 different versions of poems about roses? C'mon, people. How much more rose-talk can there be? Well, as it turns out, this poem turns upon the distinction between that oh-so-traditional rose (you know, the kind that you buy at Walgreens on Valentine's Day) and the sea rose. It's the constant allusion to other roses that helps to define this particular rose.
- Lines 1, 6, 14: The repetition of the word "rose" sets up the many ways in which this rose differs from all those other pretty flowers we can get from 1-800-FLOWERS. After all, who'd want to buy a rose that's missing petals?
- Lines 5-7: The introduction of a long-stemmed rose sets up a deliberate comparison with the rose that's the subject of this poem.
- Line 14: The "spice rose" is an allusion to the most traditional of roses – the pale pink, open-petalled flowers that you'd find on every British table at tea time. In other words, it's Ordinary, with a capital "O."