Women of the Early Harlem Renaissance: African American Women Writers 1900-1922

Sonnet

[Poem by Alice Dunbar-Nelson. Published in The Crisis, August 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 raptures 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 deadening wine.
So far from 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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  1. "Sonnet" by Alice Dunbar-Nelson