The Girl in the Purple Shoes

purple-irisesI was at Starbucks this afternoon, reading through a stack of correspondence, studying for Wednesday night’s sermon from Mark 12:1-12, and savoring the first few pages of Phyllis Tickle’s new book, The Great Emergence, when I looked up and saw a pair of shoes that inspired poety.  Here’s the result:

There is a girl
with her purple tennis shoes propped up
on the window sill at Starbucks,
jiggling her heels up and down
as she reads a thick textbook and nibbles
a slice of iced lemon pound cake.

It occurs to me that she
picked out those purple shoes;
That she looked through her closet and decided
that for this day—
this first gloomy,
then rainy,
now (surprisingly!) sunny Springtime day—
those shoes the color of purple irises
would be perfect.

–Jim Somerville, © 2009

4 thoughts on “The Girl in the Purple Shoes

  1. First thing you know, I’m going to become a “regular” reader! — usually I don’t get a chance just to browse about for interesting things —but I’m glad I saw this one. For me, it’s the unexpected little joys in folks that provide a special lift to a sometimes hectic schedule, and add a reminder of why we are so blessed often by those we don’t even know! Just the other day when stopped by a light, I rolled down my window & offered to take a homeless young man (complete with “please help – hungry & homeless veteran” sign) to get a meal. He grinned, tipped his cap, and said “No thank you, M’am; I’m OK for now!” (I don’t think he wanted to leave his corner!). There’re surprises in almost every day, when I take the time to notice them.

  2. PERENNIAL PURPLE
    Perennials promise blooms year after year, no matter rain or drought, heat or cold, sun or shade.
    Purple, that dark color blend of crimson, passionate
    ruby red and cobalt blue, is an emblem of royalty–
    -classic, imperial, pulsating. Purple overwhelms nature, giving heat to the air,
    emitting breath and movement in all
    directions.
    And so it is that purple shoes
    signify nature, mix of hues so beautiful,
    so drawing that God Himself made
    iris purple.
    What are iris? Perennial purple plants
    with sword-shaped leaves, they are composed conspicuously of three petals and
    three drooping sepals, varying widely in
    color. Evolved from the crocus and
    gladiolus family, iris return every year,
    regardless of fuming frigid weather or
    horrific heat. Ranging from light
    violet to brackish blue, iris will bloom
    wherever planted with care since its
    roots are shallow.
    From bulbs, iris grow and multiply,
    needing full or partial sun, welcoming in seasons of beginning, of plenty, of fulfillment.
    Oh, that we learn from the iris,
    deliciously delicate, riviting return
    each season, promise of producing
    flowers from the same root system year after year.
    Perennial purple, promises of enduring beauty: we can be that, we can do
    that, promise that. We are creative, blossoming from the Creator. We are capable
    of making the beauty God gave us. We are all developing from the same root structure–God Almighty.

  3. Trisha: What a beautiful response! Not everyone writes comments in verse. Thank you for this!

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