Sunday, May 12, 2013

Violet Serenade

Gypsy caravan on the front lawn at Coolatore House
Violet Serenade

In the dead hours
I try to remember
why they put me here,
what happened before the trial.
I try to remember the long ago
tune, violet in the gypsy twilight,
the fiddle scrape outside the window
that painted the difference between
a cell and a home.
All I hear in the tiptoe fog
is a grey twist of sound
that might be
the plague wagon's caterwaul
but I choose not to
bring out my dead.
In the paralyzed hours
when even the bonecleaners are still
I pace continually
fourteen steps across and back
while shadows hold their séance,
try to remember
which spirit to ask
for the shape of the song,
the one who will build me
on this cold floor
the circle of the dance,
the dissolving fire
of a purple skirt, and
the calling serenade
of barbwire violins.

Stage Danza Gypsy Duende - Carolina Fonseca a Khatawat

~May 2013

 posted for   real toads
Sunday Mini-Challenge: Violet
Kim Nelson challenges us with the many shades of violet. Mine is rather dark, and not very mini, I'm afraid.


Hover mouse on image for attribution, or click to go to photographer's flick'r page.



  1. The contrast in atmosphere between then and now really makes this poem. I like the way you linked that to the colour fade: violet to grey. You have a wonderful narrative style which draws the reader in, tempts with fleeting glimpses of back story and allows one to empathize with the plight of your main character.

  2. Ah, you seem to have contracted my Gypsy fever of late, dear Witch. It's a good thing, at least for the poetry, I think.

    I like the "tiptoe fog" and the counting of the steps across. Your work is always so rich in these details and original phrasings. Remembering which spirit to ask about these things is the heart of the matter, and it's so hard to concentrate, cooped up this way, and cold. Marvelous, fresh stuff once again, Joy.

  3. I have a friend, in an acute mental health ward now, whose story this could be. You capture her angst and anger, her restless resentment. The mood you create could have been from long ago... love the plague references... but sadly, is also quite current.

  4. Could be out of the Bastille, or Concord. Very interesting evocative vivid poem. k.

  5. Indeed, this is deep. Violet serenade, dusky and dark. You had me captivated and wanting more.

  6. oo...some nice shivery touches to this one joy....the stillness of the bonecellar...the plague wagon...barbwire violins might be the best today...dont know that i would survive long in a cell before the madness set in

  7. Eerie but lyrical description of imprisonment of any sort and the type of death that must accompany it.

  8. At first I thought an insane asylum (of past) or mental institution (if are still available) of today. Deep and dark and evoking wonder and mystery and shivers.

  9. Dark and chilling, beautiful words Hedge ~ There is a difference between a cell and a home, and 14 steps back and forth will drive me insane ~

  10. You could totally write a novel, I think, Hedge, I was drawn right in!! Excellent tone and scene setting here and I love the idea of the bone cleaners and the séance!! What a marvelous write! :)

  11. Oh, those last four lines, Joy. Fabulous!
    Luv, K

  12. Such a vividly evocative poem, so full of memorable and startling lines. A wonderful read.

  13. Joy...that's what it always reading your work. A great different and creative take on the color and the prompt. Violet can be the dark underbelly of the dragon with the impenetrable scales. Barbwire violins...damn...that was the shit. Yea baby....

  14. Moonbat!!!
    You best be careful of what/who you are trying to conjure up.

  15. Hedgewitch, this was mystical and tragic...wrapped up in one beautiful violet serenade.

  16. Very evocative images ...

    These two lines:
    "fourteen steps across and back
    while shadows hold their séance"

    If I'm not mistaken that's seven beats each, a minimalist zen-esque poem within the larger poems itself.


  17. "Tiptoe fog" is quite good, Joy Ann. I like the dark feel of this in a well written piece.



"We make out of the quarrel with others, rhetoric, out of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry." ~William Butler Yeats

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