Grand Marais, Minnesota

Purple is best in spring when lilacs bloom,
those flowers Whitman sang about
in his grief.

Their perfumed blooms sweeten
the thoughts of children walking home
on their last days of school.

In summer, purple is less conspicuous.
Scattered here and there
in lupine and monkshood.

And here—some wild nameless purple flowers,
flower atop flower bending like stars
with delicate three-part eyes.

And there—C. JACKSON
has trellised purple clematis
on his mailbox post.

While down by the lake, purple
finds a home among the mottled rocks
dashed along the shore.

And in rocky, windblown
places—blueberries turn purple
when they bleed in your mouth.

Soon the purple flames
of fireweed will blaze,
and, when the late fall sun sets,

purple will climb down
from the tall pines and sleep
in its own shadow.