Planting Violets in the Rain

Planting Violets in the Rain
by Theodora Goss

The difference between me
and a crazy old woman planting
violets in the rain is — I’m not that old yet.

But there I was, planting violets,
while rain ran down my hair and left water drops
on my glasses. I had been waiting
for the rain to stop, but it had not stopped
for three days, and the violets,
sitting in their cardboard box, roots
wrapped in a damp paper towel, upright
in their plastic bag, open at the top
so they could breathe, were getting impatient.
Lift us out of here, they said. We want
to stretch our toes in the mud,
we want to get cold and dirty,
feel the water on our heart-shaped leaves,
send our purple flowers skyward.
We are delicate, yes, but we are strong —
we were made for storms.
We come back year after year, we invade
your garden with beauty.

What could I say after that?
I was afraid they might invade me,
so I went out in the rain
and planted them, although I was not at all sure
whether I was made for storms,
whether I would come back if a late frost
killed me down to the soil, neither as beautiful
nor as delicate as their nodding stems,
not sure of myself or my ability
to put down roots wherever I was planted,
thinking, if anyone walks by, they will wonder,
who is that crazy woman?

But like them, I was willing
to take my chances.

(The image is Lady with a Bowl of Violets by Lilla Cabot Perry.)

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1 Response to Planting Violets in the Rain

  1. Spectacular, as always.

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