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Poetry and Medicine
February 14, 2007

Violet Cure

Author Affiliations

Poetry and Medicine Section Editor: Charlene Breedlove, Associate Editor. Poems may be submitted to jamapoems@jama-archives.org.

JAMA. 2007;297(6):569. doi:10.1001/jama.297.6.569

Dr Marthe Lamy is going to try a new cure on me—the color violet. —Colette

I am ill as the watered bones of the dead
the violets grow upon. What cure the cemetery’s
gray of granite? Let the bees colonize the dead
fields of Antietam. The bee's eye, born pupilless, still sees!
How blind is the human eye with its pupil
that does not see the flower's ultraviolet light!
Colette, too, willed the violet wish to cure her ills.
In the 1600s Alps monks created the paint Côte d’Azur Violet —
Was prayer the color violet, ground of iron and manganese? No memory,
the leaves of violets have, that once purple pulled their world.
How dull and sick without purple would the world be!
How ill I feel among the dropped ledges of the sea and the world.
The curve of heart-shaped leaves is cold.
How old monks have made the world new out of violet and gold!

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