A poem by Hilary Venn
As Margaret looks deep into the Sweet William she holds in her hand, she speaks to her lover across the oceans and hears his words of love echo back to her. Those who know Scotland may recognise that not all the names given to this flower are complimentary.
Sweet, sweet William
This perfect bloom, our perfect love, so pure, so free
My heart is warm, my longing heart is full
Are you there, sweet William? Are you there?
I see the white rings of innocence, your love spread wide
The crimson centre of your heart’s true passion
Is it for me, sweet William? For me?
For you, my love
For you, my dove
And why, sweet William, these other blooms?
Can you have more hearts than one?
I have one alone, it is for you. Will you be true?
William, shall I doubt your honeyed words?
That innocence, that passion true to me alone?
Those other blooms, those other loves, and who are they?
Trust me, my love
Trust me, my dove
And these dark stamens, these daggers in your breast?
Will you pierce my own, sweet William?
Will nectar and a blade rive my aching heart?
And now I see, I see your fickle soul
That tainted innocence, that broken trust
I choose to doubt, I choose to live again
My dear, believe
And now my empty heart is cold
I see the blood red of your cruel heart
No more, Sweet William –
Sour Billy, Stinking Willie
I hear your silence, I speak your shame.