Posts Tagged ‘color’

The average color of the universe
is not blue, as they thought, but beige—
or so they say after studying
two hundred thousand galaxies—
a fact that makes me stand longer today
beside this tulip as it shamelessly splays
its statistically unlikely yellow and red,
a living manual for possibility—
in all of deep space,
the chance to show up in this garden.

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inspired by “Seascape near Les Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer” by Vincent van Gogh and music by Kayleen Asbo, “Les Bateaux de Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer”

Dear Vincent, I wish I could speak of grief
as well as you articulate the colors of the sea,
naming all the hues as they change in the light—
noting the deep ultramarine near the shore
even as it tends toward pale russet, toward violet.
It’s always changing, you wrote to Theo.
You can’t even tell if it’s blue because
a second later the changing light
has taken on a pink or gray tinge.
The same is true of shades of loss—
the moment I identify a deep feeling of sorrow,
I notice pale hints of trust, nuances of awe.
The moment I name it tenderness,
it shifts into pain, ferocity, exhaustion.
Tonight I stared into the seascape you painted
on the shores of the Mediterranean,
and I knew myself not as the water
with its capricious tones, but as the boat
that sails upon it, something transported
by all this change. I tried to see the sea
with the same perspective you had:
It wasn’t very cheery but neither was it sad
it was beautiful. 
Oh those blue depths with their emerald, their white.
I let myself be carried by that beauty.

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Stoic Threads

            after Ruth Stone, “Train Ride”

The soul becomes dyed with the color of its thoughts.   

     —Marcus Aurelius

The soul is stained,

is stained with red

from wishing things were different—

dark plum of longing,

burnt umber of craving,

the rubicund ache of desire.

Is it true, the soul is dyed

by the color of its thoughts?

Or perhaps the hues

are shed like veils,

shed like flimsy gossamer shifts,

and the moment we see

that they are thoughts,

they drop away

like robes that have lost

their clasps, yes, drop away

like silken shawls

that slip from naked shoulders.

But of course it’s true

the soul is dyed with the color

of its thoughts—takes on the blue

of avarice, the sticky green

of fear. Becomes the shining

golds of bliss or the navy folds

of loss. Or is it this—

the soul just seems

to don a colored dress,

like the pale rose wrap at dawn

that’s here then gone,

and the sky itself is clear.

Sometimes I feel soul stained

through and through.

Sometimes I shed even

the darkest hues,

like veils, like gossamer shifts.

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Into Your Stocking




I slipped some magic markers

for coloring the world—

the leaves, the river, the moon.

You can write messages

in the sky and the wind

will blow them where

they need to go.

You can color thoughts—

give them stripes or polka dots.

You can change the hue

of a mood with a few broad strokes.

There’s one that will make you

invisible. Some markers I

don’t know what they do.

One is the color of laughter.

Another the color of forgiveness.

Don’t be surprised if other people

can’t see them. Don’t be

surprised when they graffiti

the walls around your heart.

Don’t be surprised when

you start to think in color—

when you start to believe

every idea, every word,

every dream can change

the shade of the world.

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