Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Purple Dusk

She tended to her African violets, a jeweled 
setting of amethyst among emerald leaves.

Clay pots placed just so in the living room, one
in the kitchen window. When the sun brightened

in summer, she moved them to darker spaces,
pinched the dying petals, and they bloomed

with wild abandon as if sprung from the rich, black soil  
of the mother continent, still undiscovered by white hands.

She died while mowing the weeds in her back yard.
I inherited one plant. Overwatered, it died too.

I couldn’t accept it wasn’t thirsty as she always was,
sipping iced tea from a sweating glass. The colored

crystal reminded me of the sea where she waded once,
letting the froth cover her red-painted toenails and varicose veins.

I tried to save the violets, set them beneath the carport.
Before they rotted, a single, three-winged weed appeared

in the fertile soil, and the violets bloomed purple dusk again,
renewed and reluctant, stubborn, not yet ready to die.

© Ami Mattison

Photo by Tess Kincaid


  1. sad and glad to see rebirth in the violets.


  2. The shamrock compliments, like she did your life. I saw her feet. :)

  3. This is tender and lovely, Ami. The imagery is beautifully sustained in the visual portrait you've created. I especially like how you echo the tenacity of "I couldn't accept..." with the African violet's own determination to bloom again.

  4. Wonderful magpie! You did full justice to the picture!

    coloured perspective

  5. nicely done...i like the little bits...the froth covering as she wades into the ocean...the stubborn flowers,perhaps a bit more like her than the not wanting to drink as much as she....nice ami....and nice spotlight on you today over at onestop as well....

  6. Wonderful piece of life and death. Poignant and earthy. Loved it.

  7. Some lovely descriptions here, hard hitting where necessary.

  8. This reminds me of my grandmother. I love the echoes of Africa, of origins, journeys back and forth, blooming and dying, all that isn't known and all that won't give up. Enjoyed the insight of your words at One Stop's profile this morning, also. Sweet tea runs in the veins down here, doesn't it?

  9. charming memories...love the imagery and thoughtfulness.

  10. Quite simply ... I loved this!

  11. hon, you paint quite a picture. beautifully descriptive & poignant.

  12. This felt so real. I could see it!

  13. Life, death, life again - the hope represented by a flower. Lovely, Ami, and containing something very strong. I read the poem three times and each time felt the pwoer of the words.

  14. Some very acute observation as well as a knowledge of how to bring on African violets. Well done.

  15. Wow...this was very good. Sadness kept building...then a spark of hope at the end. Vb

  16. A sad and beautiful picture painted.

    Anna :o]

  17. I love how your poems can be interpreted on many levels. A plant, a person, a relationship - all can be stubborn, reluctant, and renewed.

  18. vivid and hopeful message.
    well done.

  19. What a lovely write, Ami! The kind of poem I can read over and over and discover something new...

  20. Hey, you keep going and going. Do you ever sleep? Or do you dream these or just write them in you sleep. Whatever, your talent breaks out all over. Terrific.