To open All Violet is to enter a world

like that of Berlin throughout

the Weimar Republic, the Berlin

of Christopher Isherwood

and Der blaue Engel cross-pollinated

with Nosferatu and Dr. Caligari.

To open All Violet is to be greeted

by a soul-searching young woman

in love with words while sickened

by the hypocrisies camouflaging

the calamities bourgeois society

parades as inevitable.

To open All Violet is to meet

a young mind attuned

to the culture of the street

at the same time it hungrily

devours the classics of English

and French literature,

prose as well as poetry.

To open All Violet is to be challenged

by a large heart that rescues

stray cats and homeless girls

and harbours profound

empathy for society’s discards,

for those who, having lost their way,

are driven to sell body and soul

to make it through the night

and survive to see another day, the ones

for whom there will be no hallelujah chorus,

no ascension to a place of unharried peace

except in death’s unprejudiced embrace.

Ruth Roach Pierson,

(Der blaue Engel = The Blue Angel)

Dr. Ruth Roach Pierson has taught women’s history, feminist, European and post-colonial studies at the University of Toronto and Memorial University of Newfoundland. Since retiring in 1980, she has published five poetry collections: Where No Window Was, 2002, Aide-Mémoire, which was a Governor General Literary Award for Poetry finalist in 2008, CONTRARY, 2011, Realignment, 2015, and most recently, Till I Caught Myself.

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