Spring Sonnet

I have been reading works by A. E. Stallings, who recently received a MacArthur Fellowship.  Here’s what the MacArthur website says about her. 

“A. E. Stallings is a poet and translator mining the classical world and traditional poetic techniques to craft works that evoke startling insights about contemporary life. In both her original poetry and translations, Stallings exhibits a mastery of highly structured forms (such as sonnets, couplets, quatrains, and sapphics) and consummate skill in creating new combinations of meter, rhyme, and syntax into distinctive, emotionally compelling verse.”

Her works inspired me to write rhyming poems about mundane subjects, like the North Dakota plains where I grew up.  However, in honor of spring, here is a sonnet I wrote a few years ago.

Purple Spring

The color purple has a mind of spring,

so to the cool outdoors I take my spade.

It pleases me to hear the robins sing.

I lift some leaves: violets peek from shade.

A ladder of lavender makes an ascent.

Strong stalks in a cluster emerge by the door

and in the sun a sweet and heady scent

releases eau d’hyacinth and more.


Along a wall I move some twigs and there

I see a petal-curl about to open:

a tulip bulb, streaming yellow hair

and purple streaks; a Sultan’s turban.


Now day is dusk, I must go in,

and wash the purple from my skin.




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