Today’s poem is by Gerry Moll (1900 – 1997), an Australian poet from Murtoa, in the Wimmera, who studied at Harvard University and then lived for many years in Oregon, USA. Moll was apparently a fine teacher of literature, and students who took his Shakespeare class in the 1920s still remembered him seven decades later.
One cannot read this poem this week without thinking of the brave people of Iran.
This Spring the white violets
Came early and everywhere
Greet me with their white expectant faces.
For years I’d kept them sternly in their places:
A rock-bowl here, a thin, neat border there.
They’ve broken lines and every boundary
A gardener sets for such;
Even the lawn, still winter-brown, is a sea
Foamed over by them and the warming air,
Filled with their scent, proclaims their empery.
Why did they come so early? Did they know
That one was the way to still the hand
That bestowed blessings on them with its touch?
And why such masses? Did they fear
She might not see them with her pain-dimmed eyes,
Or, hastening on the way she had to go,
Would miss them at this turning of the year?
Grief to these questions asks for no replies.
Previous poems in this series are here.
Ernest G. Moll : The View from a Ninetieth Birthday: Lyrical Poems of Old Age. La Jolla, CA: La Jolla Poets Press. page 48.