Here in purgatory bare ground
is visible, except in shady places
where snow prevails.
Still, each day sees
the restoration of another animal:
a sparrow, just now a sleepy wasp;
and, at twilight, the skunk
pokes out of the den,
anxious for mates and meals. . . .
On the floor of the woodshed
the coldest imaginable ooze,
and soon the first shoots
of asparagus will rise,
the fingers of Lazarus. . . .
Earth’s open wounds — where the plow
gouged the ground last November —
must be smoothed; some sown
with seed, and all forgotten.
Now the nuthatch spurns the suet,
resuming its diet of flies, and the mesh
bag limp and greasy, might be taken
Beside the porch step
the crocus prepares an exaltation
of purple, but for the moment
holds its tongue. . . .
~Jane Kenyon, “Mud Season” from Collected Poems.
Walking, I drew my hand over the lumpy
bloom of a spray of purple; I stripped away
my fingers, stained purple; put it to my nose,
the minty honey, a perfume so aggressively
pleasant—I gave it to you to smell,
my daughter, and you pulled away as if
I was giving you a palm full of wasps,
deceptions: “Smell the way the air
changes because of purple and green.”
This is the promise I make to you:
I will never give you a fist full of wasps,
just the surprise of purple and the scent of rain.
~Kwame Dawes “Purple”
I have always identified more with the bland plainness of mud season as squishy brown ground is underfoot. I tend to dress myself in browns and never in elegant purples. It’s not that I don’t like purple – I do. I just have never felt worthy to be adorned in it like the sky and flowers and fruit.
Perhaps my reluctance to wear purple is that it represents the those who are regal and royal … yet also those who are bruised and battered … all at once.
I know One who was both, who took a beating for me in my place.
This year’s Lenten theme:
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
2 Corinthians 4: 18