The pedagogy of the rose

I have always believed in inspiration. It is true that sometimes it takes time to arrive, but it is always there. As the most romantic of Spanish poets, Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer, reminds us: “As long as there is hope and memories, there will be poetry!” (Rhyme IV). The truth is that I ran into her one afternoon in April 2019. It all began when rereading In an old book, I found a rose withered by time next to a card with a phrase by Saint Exupéry (French aviator and writer, 1900-1944). The maxim spoke of friendship and said: “I thirst for a respectful companion in me, above the disputes of reason, the pilgrim of that fire”. What came next was a chain of simple events that are part of life itself and help personal growth. The years teach that we foolishly live waiting for extraordinary events, when in reality the extraordinary is in how we face the daily life that we have to live. Privilege of the human, this of stealthily retracing his steps and rereading his life, without the adrenaline of urgency, finding teachings to fill the saddlebag.


I quickly remembered that that rose in the book represented goodbye to a friend. But not everything would end there. Fate usually gives incredible pirouettes. Walking around the neighborhood that same afternoon, I observed a man fixing the garden of a house. In the corner stood a rose bush that embellished the place. I approached him to ask him about the care that this flowering bush demanded. He told me about the eight steps it takes to care for a rose bush. But this was not what caught my attention the most, but rather his final sentence: “to take care of roses, the first thing is not to be afraid of their thorns.” What words, I thought, worthy of a few verses by Arjona (Guatemalan singer-songwriter). Actually, Arjona, who usually confuses me with the twists and turns of his songs, was more forceful on a well-known subject: “Either you learn to love the thorn or do not accept roses” (It was you, 2011) Using a metaphor, I thought of the arduous task of caring for those friendships that hurt us. Imagination did the rest by putting names and faces to those who remain distant from the rose bush for fear of the thorns. Of course, the mind that usually flies higher than the feather, went to places of greater depth. Finally, the acceptance of the other in the allegory of the roses, inhabits the terrain of affections that tend to capsize in the wide sea of ​​differences. Unless, overcoming the disagreements, we are able to feel as our own the emotional words of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry in “My Friend”: “Yes, I differ from you, far from diminishing you, I magnify you.”


The rose has its own pedagogy. This teaching was captured by the supernatural lyre of Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz (Mexican nun and poet, 1651-1695), in her memorable sonnet CXLVII “A una rosa”. When I say supernatural I am not referring to a magical phenomenon. I am talking about the inspiration that he shows off in all his work. Inspiration that does not make us scribes of any muse, much less, of an inspiring God. Inspiration is a gift from God that mobilizes our will and intelligence to want and be able to transmit the an idea that boils in our soul. Neither Michelangelo had an inert brush nor Sor Juana’s pen was inert. The pedagogy of the sonnet is pure inspiration. In the rose there is a kind of haughtiness and arrogance close to pride. Ignorance saves her “The rose is unaware that its cradle will soon be its own grave. No matter how beautiful it looks in the garden, it eventually withers and dies. It is not its presumptuous arrogance that teaches us. The true pedagogy of the rose reminds us of the without sense of the vanity and shortness of life. As Sor Juana rightly points out: “Living you deceive and dying you teach” (Sonnet CXLVII).

For Miryan Andujar
Lawyer, teacher and researcher
Institute of Bioethics of the UCCuyo

The pedagogy of the rose