Poet’s Corner-July 22, 2022
Every Friday, James Blevins, this newspaper’s in-house reporter and poet—who has seen his work previously published in “Salt Hill Journal,” “Pretty Owl Poetry,” “Stoneboat Journal,” “Mud Season Review” and “AZURE,” as well as numerous other outlets both online and in print—chooses one poem for publication.
Additionally, Blevins will share a poem of his own, just for good measure, at the end of each calendar month.
By Alice Moore Dunbar-Nelson
I had not thought of violets 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 soaps, and deadening wines.
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.
Alice Moore Dunbar-Nelson, born in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1875 to mixed-race parents, was a poet, essayist, diarist and activist. Her Black, Anglo, Native American and Creole heritage contributed to her complex understandings of gender, race and ethnicity, all subjects at the heart of her poetry. Comfortable in many genres but best known for her prose, Dunbar-Nelson published her work in numerous Black newspapers during her lifetime, such as “Crisis,” “Ebony and Topaz” and “Opportunity.” She married the poet Paul Laurence Dunbar in 1898 but they separated in 1902. She died in Philadelphia in 1935.