Wednesday 24 April 2024

UNDER THE VIOLETS



 

 UNDER THE VIOLETS


Her hands are cold; her face is white;
No more her pulses come and go;
Her eyes are shut to life and light; --
Fold the white vesture, snow on snow,
And lay her where the violets blow.

But not beneath a graven stone,
To plead for tears with alien eyes;
A slender cross of wood alone
Shall say, that here a maiden lies
In peace beneath the peaceful skies.

 

And gray old trees of hugest limb

Shall wheel their circling shadows round

To make the scorching sunlight dim

That drinks the greenness from the ground,

And drop their dead leaves on her mound.

 

When o'er their boughs the squirrels run,

And through their leaves the robins call,

And, ripening in the autumn sun,

The acorns and the chestnuts fall,

Doubt not that she will heed them all.

 

For her the morning choir shall sing

Its matins from the branches high,

And every minstrel-voice of Spring,

That trills beneath the April sky,

Shall greet her with its earliest cry.

 

When, turning round their dial-track,

Eastward the lengthening shadows pass,

Her little mourners, clad in black,

The crickets, sliding through the grass,

Shall pipe for her an evening mass.

At last the rootlets of the trees

Shall find the prison where she lies,

And bear the buried dust they seize

In leaves and blossoms to the skies.

So may the soul that warmed it rise!

 


If any, born of kindlier blood,

Should ask, What maiden lies below?

Say only this: A tender bud,

That tried to blossom in the snow,

Lies withered where the violets blow.

 

 This poem was written by Oliver Wendell Holmes

 

 "Under the Violets" is a deeply moving poem that explores a range of themes, from death and memory to friendship and the cycle of life. It's a testament to Holmes' skill as a poet that he is able to convey such complex ideas with such elegance and simplicity.  The poem "Under the Violets" remains a powerful reminder of the beauty and fragility of life.

 Written in 1868 "Under the Violets" is a beautiful and poignant elegy for the poet's friend, Caroline. The poem opens with the line, "Her hands are cold; her face is white; / No more her pulses come and go," setting the mournful tone right from the start. Throughout the poem, the speaker mourns Caroline's passing, eventually concluding that she now lies "under the violets."


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