African American Poetry (1870-1928): A Digital Anthology

Alice Dunbar-Nelson, "Sonnet" (1919)

I had not thought of violets of late,
The wild, shy kind that spring beneath your feet
In wistful April days, when lovers mate
And wander through the fields in rapturous sweet,
The thought of violets meant florists’ shops,
And bows and pins, and perfumed papers fine;
And garish lights, and mincing little fops,
And cabarets and songs, and deadenign wine.
So far from the sweet real things my thoughts had strayed,
I had forgot wide fields, and clear brown streams; 
The perfect loveliness that God has made,--
Wild violets shy and Heaven-mounting dreams.
And now–unwittingly, you’ve made me dream 
Of violets and my soul’s forgotten gleam.

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