Variations on Bryant’s “The Yellow Violet”

Without my knowledge or consent, my brother Ted has had the audacity to post the first stanza of one of my poems, a take-off on William Cullen Bryant’s “The Yellow Violet,” on his “blug,” Spinning on a Fretful Midge.

So I hereby return the effrontery by pasting what he posted:

When beechen buds begin to swell,
And woods the blue-birds warble know,
The yellow violet’s modest bell
Peeps from the last year’s leaves below.

Reworked a la the Age of the Enlightenment by my sister, Jessica Shaver Renshaw:
When Fagus buds protuberant
And sings the Musicapidae
There blooms the small herbaceous plant
Of family Violaceae.

This evoked from me [Ted] the following variations, with which I hasten to inflict you.

I wonder – if beech buds — that swell
When struck – by springtide’s – mallet
Perceive in shy – propinquity
The yellow peep of – violet.
Emily Dickinson

When the bud and the bend of the bark of the beech in the brushwood
Bids the bluebell to blush and the bluebird to buoyantly bellow her burden,
From the last of the loam of the lingering leaves of the last year,
The eloquent lids of the violet lift up, loquacious.
Algernon Swinburne

When beechen buds beginnen swelle
In woodes warblen birdes welle
Than frome undre leafe creepeth
Al-modestlie the violet peepeth.
Geoffrey Chaucer

Ach, ca’ nicht mair wee cantie sprout,
Guid plack an’ braw thou’s ane widout,
But gowans monie hae ye i’ frout,
Wi’ carlins chronic; A yello’ vi’let be, nae dou’t
Robert Burns

and my feet wedge down into the
Fourth-month sludge alongside the flower
and I feel the aliment and the excrement flow up
from my very roots soporific
and I now know that the yellow violet is divine
and that I am just as divine
and everyone else who is or has been or ever will be
should just shut up
Walt Whitman


About Jessica Renshaw
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7 Responses to Variations on Bryant’s “The Yellow Violet”

  1. tedrey says:

    If with audacity
    and with temerity
    I have offended
    now with celerity
    to my capacity
    in true sincerity
    here are addended
    total anthologies
    of meek apologies
    along with a kiss for
    my dearest sister —
    so all is mended.

  2. Wow, shake the tree and even more poems will fall! :o)

  3. (Does my emoticon have a moustache?)

  4. tedrey says:

    I take it (if I have a choice) as open-mouthed amazement at my brilliance.

  5. Yep. Of course I would never tell YOU that; it would go to your head.

  6. me me says:


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