On a Violet

by Kelly Cherry

So commonly we see a single violet

Curated in a simple vase—clay pot

Or shallow dish, the dish perhaps a piece

Of Blue Willow-ware, a practically antique pattern


By now. The violet is shy and makes no claim

On the black, moistened earth from which it springs:

A modest flower with modest expectations.

Its tint is carefully calibrated between


Red and blue, not quite purple—almost one would say

A color that doesn’t exist in the real world

Except here it is, indisputably real.

What shall we make of this? That the real world


Grows more mysterious even as we look at it?

That the more we look at the world, the more we see?


Do the violet in the Blue Willow bowl and we who view it

Exist in a conspiracy of perception?