Tag Archives: poem about colors. poetry

Portrait of the Artist

My husband was an artist and so it seemed fitting to write a profile/portrait of him that described him primarily in terms of color.

Portrait of the Artist

The artist in you
understood color so well.
And yet, even as you layered on
red and green,
so much of you was blue.

Your white hair,
loosened from the pony tail

and streaming down your back
in your wild man look,
prompted strangers to ask
if you were a shaman,
or declare you to be one.

But there was
that black in you
that altered it,
that shade created
by the blend
of white and black
you knew so well.

The red that flamed out from your work,
subtly put there even in places
where it had no logical purpose for being,

that red tried to make things right.

Yet all of us
who knew you well

knew the blue.
It was the background color
of all of your days.

It was the blanket
in which we wrapped
ourselves
at night,

trying to be close,
but so often
divided

by it.

For fifteen years, I tried
to paint you yellow.
There were splashes of it, surely,

throughout our lives together.
You on the stage, reading your heart,
me in the audience, recognizing
all the colors caught within you.

Finding the pictures you had taken of me
studying your work at the art show,

those pictures you had snapped surreptitiously
even before we  met,

I discovered, after your passing,
that you had recognized
me even then, when I thought
I was the only one
angling for a meeting—
sure of my need to know
those secret parts of you

that I will never know
now that you have given yourself
to whatever color your ever-after
has delivered you to.

A new life later,
I am suffused
by my own canvas
of memories of you—
every other pigment
splashed against
a vivid background
of yellow.

 

The dVerse Poetics prompt is to create a profile or self-profile in verse. Go HERE to read additional poems written to this prompt by others.

You Can Have All the Oranges

 

You Can Have All the Oranges

Pink’s been reserved for babies. Black and blue are much abused.
You need only look at nature to see green’s been overused.
You would not like the fuchsia, it is gaudy and distracting.
And yellow’s like an ingenue who’s been caught overacting.
White’s not really there at all and scarlet is too flashy.
Tan can be depressing. Gold lamé is simply trashy.
Silver strands among the gold by some are found distressing.
Flesh a color that’s best seen only while undressing.
Gray is simply nondescript. It looks like white that’s dirty,
and day-glo colors best reserved for people under thirty.
Deep purple is too moody and mauve is also glum,
as are other purples like heather, puce and plum.
Taupe’s a mousy color—too boring to be worn,
and gold they’re holding in reserve for bankers (and for corn.)
But you can have the oranges from tangerine to peach—
all the tints and shades and tones that are within your reach.
Pluck oranges from the color tree a dozen at a time.
I’ve no use for a color that has no words that rhyme.

This silly poem came about as a result of a family story much-told.  When my mother and father made a trip to Appalachia, they were waiting at a train station and saw a woman with a number of children. One little boy was especially fussy and kept pulling at a lumpy and heavy-looking bag that his mother was carrying in the arm that wasn’t holding the baby.  The train was pulling into the station and that little boy was balking and holding up their progress toward the train platform when the mother called out to him in a harried voice, “You can have all the ahr-anges you wants when you git on the train!”  It has been a much-used family saying ever since, especially useful when someone is holding up the act!
My ending line actually came about as I was trying to find a word to rhyme with orange and realized there weren’t any.  I believe it is somewhat famous for this fact.  Well, that and the sunset!

 And koolkosherkitchen brought this other “orange” poem from two years ago to my attention as well: https://judydykstrabrown.com/2015/03/22/hue-bris/

The prompt word today was orange.