Saturday, 27 February 2016

I glimpsed a child

Dear Reader,

D.H. Lawrence, writing in his journal from Cornwall in 1916, mentions the wonderful sight of the primroses and violets he saw on a walk.  This reminded me that I haven't seen any violets, these beautiful small wild flowers, for years.   There are many myths about violets: the Ancient Greeks considered them a symbol of fertility and used them to make love potions, and throughout medieval Europe they were considered a protection against evil spirits.  The violet was also the emblem of the French Bonapartists.  Josephine wore violets at her marriage to Napoleon, and he apparently gave her a bouquet of violets on each wedding anniversary.  It is also said that he wore a locket of violets around his neck for he rest of his life, and Shakespeare called them "forward", as they were harbingers of spring.

Have I then, I wonder, been walking in the wrong places to see them, or do they really no longer exist?    Are the surprising and pleasurable moments of glimpsing groups of violets peeping out from mossy banks no longer possible for us today?  It seems so.

I glimpsed a child

on the kitchen chair
feet dangling
legs swinging

large brown eyes stared
from a dusty pale face

she didn't smile or speak

about seven years old I thought
Syrian perhaps or Iraqi
her clothes once pink and green
now mud-stained and torn

her silver bracelets sparkling
in the sunlight

I made her Moroccan mint tea
offered her cake
kissed her cold cheek
dried her tears

I fetched more sugar
but on return I saw
the chair was empty
the child gone
dissolved in the morning air


Very best wishes, Patricia


Emma Deguara said...

Beautiful poem Granny, thank you for sharing. Especially interesting with all these orphan refugee children now xxx

Rebecca said...

This is very poignant Patricia; it will stay with me I know.

Anonymous said...

Yes,beautiful and evocative. An important poem for our time.
I see violets occasionally on my mid Wales walks.

Eugenie said...

I love both bits of this entry -- the history and beliefs around violets (I never knew!). You're brilliant at researching and curating interesting facts about little elements of life.
And I loved (and am saddened by) the poem itself. I'd love to know more about what inspired you to write it and when you did...