Today, the lovely purple arrived, the ones that are the flower of my aunt, my mom’s sister, Viola. In recent years, learning the name of these flowers, I wondered if she was named for these flowers, but both my mom and aunt are gone now— as are all family members. I will never know, but I will think so, because she was as special to me as these first spring flowers.
So, paying attention to the little things around me, I noticed these flowers popping up in the side yard today. I remember the hours my younger brother and I would play in the mound of dirt near the fence between the farmer’s field and my aunt’s home. In the mound of dirt were large Tonka trucks and graders so could push the dirt around. I don’t know who the toys belonged to because no one else ever came to play. Perhaps my aunt placed them there, which would be just like her— ready she always was with something for Bill and I to do. And perhaps it was my grandfather, who lived a ways a way from my aunt’s and who we only saw infrequently in his small and dark house. My grandfather worked for the roads department, building the highways that cross North Dakota in perfect north/south and east/west lines.
You wonder why I know so little? Back then, children were seen and not heard. We were shushed away to play on our own while the adults carried out their conversations and family business, for which we were not aware. And only later would we be called in for dinner and card games and listening to the radio. And my aunt would hug me and laugh, and my uncle would tease and make me laugh. And that’s what I remember— the hugs and the laughter, and that for every event of importance in my life, my aunt was there: baptism, confirmation, band performances, graduation. She was a support for my mom, and a dear aunt to me.
I could not fit all that into a poem today: some days are like that, so my poem is a haiku of the flower and of my aunt, for the delight that fills my heart when I think of them. All of those thoughts happened in a blink of an eye as I smiled and knelt down to enjoy the little violas. And when my writing time arrived, that’s what I thought of to write: that first moment of spring delights— the purple viola and the two people the flower reminds me of: my mom and aunt- all in that lovely little flower. It’s why I chose to say “mom’s sister’s” instead of “my aunt,” because my memories are intertwined with both of them.
Those two little words, “lovely viola” say all of my memory, a gentle and beautiful moment of joy. And whenever I read this poem, I will remember these moments again. Poetry isn’t to explain; poetry is to feel, and through this short poem of spring’s purple, the love of the person is shown. Poetry is personal— and its meaning to you will be different than to the author or others. Write to remember.
Spring brings the purple,Sheri Edwards
Mom’s sister’s floral namesake:
Take a look around you. Do you see a memory in a picture, a flower, a toy, a lamp? What is your memory? Your feeling? Perhaps you’ll write down as I have here, or perhaps simply tell a friend. But then, take a moment, and write three lines. It doesn’t have to follow a format, like haiku. But share a bit of the thing, the memory, and a feeling. Three lines: you can do it.