wild white violets in the moss


When I was a child
I once sat sobbing on the floor
Beside my mother’s piano
As she played and sang
For there was in her singing
A shy yet solemn glory
My smallness could not hold

And when I was asked
Why I was crying
I had no words for it
I only shook my head
And went on crying

Why is it that music
At its most beautiful
Opens a wound in us
An ache a desolation
Deep as a homesickness
For some far-off
And half-forgotten country

I’ve never understood
Why this is so

But there’s an ancient legend
From the other side of the world
That gives away the secret
Of this mysterious sorrow

For centuries on centuries
We have been wandering
But we were made for Paradise
As deer for the forest

And when music comes to us
With its heavenly beauty
It brings us desolation
For when we hear it
We half remember
That lost native country

We dimly remember the fields
Their fragrant windswept clover
The birdsongs in the orchards
The wild white violets in the moss
By the transparent streams

And shining at the heart of it
Is the longed-for beauty
Of the One who waits for us
Who will always wait for us
In those radiant meadows

Yet also came to live with us
And wanders where we wander.

– Anne Porter in Living Things: Collected Poems

with love,


8 thoughts on “wild white violets in the moss

  1. Ellen I think I’m understanding it better as I grow older too – maybe it has something to do with this aging body 🙂 better things are ahead!I’m glad you enjoyed it Randi and Cedar.Jody, they grow in the woods behind our church which is across the road from me. It’s a lovely place to walk as long as you put a little bug spray on – especially this time of year :)That’s a perfect quote to go with the poem Sarah! L M Montgomery writes about it in Emily as well – "the flash".There’s no fragrance Lita but I’ll have to go back and check for sure. The damp mossy smell was strong. They are such tiny flowers. But lily of the valley is small as well and they have quite a strong perfume.


  2. What a simply beautiful poem. It reminds me of Anne’s ‘queer ache’ in Anne’s House of Dreams:"It’s so beautiful that it hurts me," said Anne softly. "Perfect things like that always did hurt me–I remember I called it `the queer ache’ when I was a child. What is the reason that pain like this seems inseparable from perfection? Is it the pain of finality–when we realise that there can be nothing beyond but retrogression?""Perhaps," said Owen dreamily, "it is the prisoned infinite in us calling out to its kindred infinite as expressed in that visible perfection."We are strangers in this world, made for paradise, His Kingdom here on earth as in Heaven, and the whole of creation aches until it’s all brought to pass.Hugs.


  3. I love this poem and the music that plays in the background. I have wild white violets like you do in my backyard garden. A lady from Wisconsin sent them to me from her wild garden.Jody


Thanks for leaving a comment!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s