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cover art Poems from the Other Land by Ruth Mark
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V i o l i a c e a e  -  T h e   V i o l e t   F a m i l y

Nature is wont to hide herself.
Heraclitus (540 BC - 480 BC)

Viola alba.
You open up amongst the grasses
which surround you, your vulva
throbbing pink and proud, yet
strangely hidden among the
foliage. White yet not
virginal. The lust comes
off your petals in waves.

Viola arvensis.
Small and slender yet flamboyant
you burst into life at the
end of your narrow neck, white
with yellow tongue, lolling
panting for more. Hot yet
chaste. What a contradiction.

Viola biflora.
Bright yellow you somehow belie
your genus, fine, more fragile
than the primrose, two-headed;
a couple then. Is it true what
they say - that two heads
are always better than one?

Viola canina.
Why do they name you the
Dog of Violets? In my eyes
you are the most beautiful
with your bell-like flower
your almost-passionate purple
delicate you wilt once plucked
hedgerows of Ireland keep you hidden
safe among their shadows.

Viola collina.
Bonny as any Colleen you too
are tiny, petite, yet you
have a robustness in the thrust
of your stem, in the way
you tilt up your head
open your soul for all to see.
Keep something hidden, trust me
it will serve you better.

Viola hirta.
A virtual riot of colour
you don't hide your wares
but thrust them proudly
at the sky, daring all
who spy you to come see
touch if you dare.


First appeared in Electric Acorn, May 2004

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