It may be we froze, my heart,
in that scene between
the budding of an Ingrid Bergman
rose and her open-blooded
unfurling, when she let herself
– in one uncensored moment –
give in to Rick’s eyes and their intent
stare into her soul.
In my movie Ilse and Rick
went on blossoming long after
she left in that plane – petals open
forever in a frame.
Not so our rose: just as she began to bloom
she was held in a sudden frost
that spread so fast after the heat,
it seized all of her but the cutting green
of her thorns. That cold shot,
was it directed by you, or me?
or a hybrid strain
remade by a cutting-edge
director, who thinks love in film
– and in life – is lacking
realism? You’ll recognise him:
he knows from the inside “those cumulative losses
that leave men and women bereft”
like a film crashing over budget
(or what happens to Ilse and Rick, after that plane takes off).
Ingrid Bergman? The man will not cast her as his
leading lady: he wants no leading lady
– he no longer risks himself on red red roses.
Perhaps – assuming he’s still “the sharpest
observer of modern romance,
an uncompromising charm-breaker” –
he’ll decide to show nothing on camera
but our failure
– fade to Ingrid Bergman, an ice-bitten
cameo, red velvet unseen.
He fails in the final cut, though,
for all the close editing.
His candid eye reveals the enchantment
of a rose, flaming
as he frames us by that plane.