Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Poets United Midweek Motif ~ Colour (Color)

Color effect – Sunlight shining through stained glass onto carpet
(Nasir ol Molk Mosque located in ShirazIran)

“Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.”
Rabindranath Tagore
“I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don't notice it.”Alice Walker
“One should be a painter. As a writer, I feel the beauty, which is almost entirely colour, very subtle, very changeable, running over my pen, as if you poured a large jug of champagne over a hairpin.”Virginia Woolf

"ME TOO" by Annell Livingston:
"Hold the world as tenderly as a lover."

(Used with permission.)

Midweek Motif ~ Color (Colour)

Working on this prompt is brightening my world! Today, I share words from Annell Livingston who created the "Me Too" acrylic painting above:  
I have been studying color for over fifty years.  And color is like exploring a cave deep underground, the doors or passageways keep opening, just when you think you have a handle on the subject, another door opens and presents new possibilities.  We begin with the hues of color, or the names of each color, like red, yellow and blue.  The lights and darks of color, tints and shades.  The temperature of color, warm or cool.   And the intensity of color, or the brightness or dullness of color.  There is so much to explore about color and its vibrations, it is a lifetime study.
Today, I'm inviting us to question how color around us shapes our moods and how our moods influence our environments.

The Challenge:  In your brand new poem, reveal the color of a place or an event.

Angostura de Paine.jpg
Angostura de Paine, Chile. By Ricardo Hurtubia

for my sisters
Because we did not have threads
of turquoise, silver, and gold,
we could not sew a sun nor sky.
And our hands became balls of fire.
And our arms spread open like wings.

Because we had no chalk or pastels,
no toad, forest, or morning-grass slats
of paper, we had no colour
for creatures. So we squatted
and sprang, squatted and sprang.

Four young girls, plaits heavy
on our backs, our feet were beating
drums, drawing rhythms from the floor;
our mouths became woodwinds;
our tongues touched teeth and were reeds.

(Used with permission of the poet.)
First appeared in Song of Thieves 
University of Pittsburgh Press, 2003
Purple as tulips in May, mauve
into lush velvet, purple
as the stain blackberries leave
on the lips, on the hands,
the purple of ripe grapes
sunlit and warm as flesh.

Every day I will give you a color,
like a new flower in a bud vase
on your desk. Every day
I will paint you, as women
color each other with henna
on hands and on feet.

Red as henna, as cinnamon,
as coals after the fire is banked,
the cardinal in the feeder,
the roses tumbling on the arbor
their weight bending the wood
the red of the syrup I make from petals.

Orange as the perfumed fruit
hanging their globes on the glossy tree,
orange as pumpkins in the field,
orange as butterflyweed and the monarchs
who come to eat it, orange as my
cat running lithe through the high grass.

Yellow as a goat’s wise and wicked eyes,
yellow as a hill of daffodils,
yellow as dandelions by the highway,
yellow as butter and egg yolks,
yellow as a school bus stopping you,
yellow as a slicker in a downpour.
. . . . 
(Read the rest of this marvelous poem HERE.)

                          BY GEORGE ELIOT
The sky is cloudy, yellowed by the smoke. 
For view there are the houses opposite 
Cutting the sky with one long line of wall 
Like solid fog: far as the eye can stretch 
Monotony of surface & of form 
Without a break to hang a guess upon. 
No bird can make a shadow as it flies, 
For all is shadow, as in ways o'erhung 
By thickest canvass, where the golden rays 
Are clothed in hemp. No figure lingering 
Pauses to feed the hunger of the eye 
Or rest a little on the lap of life. 
All hurry on & look upon the ground, 
Or glance unmarking at the passers by 
The wheels are hurrying too, cabs, carriages 
All closed, in multiplied identity. 
The world seems one huge prison-house & court 
Where men are punished at the slightest cost, 
With lowest rate of colour, warmth & joy. 

In the Bois de Boulogne (Berthe Morisot) - Nationalmuseum - 22575.tif
In the Bois de Boulogne by Berthe Morisot (1880)

Pied Beauty 

Glory be to God for dappled things – 
   For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow; 
      For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim; 
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings; 
   Landscape plotted and pieced – fold, fallow, and plough; 
      And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim. 

All things counter, original, spare, strange; 
   Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?) 
      With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim; 
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change: 
                                Praise him.

 Please share your new poem using Mr. Linky below and visit others in the spirit of the community—
(Next week Sumana’s Midweek Motif will be ~ Treasure)


  1. Hello everyone! Happy Wednesday! Really enjoyed writing to this lovely prompt, Susan.

    1. Thanks, Sumana! I haven't written to it yet, myself, I confess. I'm on call to my friend Nancy who is in the hospital for an infection--and doing well--after a couple of long stays in emergency. I should be able to write about those long hours in color!

    2. I'm glad she is responding well. Those infections are nasty.

    3. I'm finally back with a poem of sorts. What a day. I think I've been weary, but also a bit intimidated by the amazing poems in this midweek. Haha.

  2. Indeed some lovely poems here. Have not thought of the G M Hopkins since schooldays.We had to learn 'Pied Beauty' by heart. Also loved the'Art Room' poem. In particular the last stanza. My poem is about woodwinds. Amazing coincidence.

    1. Yes! This experience of color is amazing today. Thank you for being part of it.

  3. Congratulations to artist and poets Annell Livingston and Shara McCallum! Annell has an exhibit at Winterowd Fine Arts Gallery in Sante Fe; and Shara's recent book "Madwoman" has been shortlisted for the poetry category and longlisted for the overall 2018 Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature.

    Thank you for letting Poets United feature your work.

  4. Hi Susan! A lovely prompt. I'm looking forward to devouring all the other offerings.:)

  5. Thank you so much Susan, I loved the prompt!!!

  6. Annell's ME TOO is awesome; luv this also
    "“One should be a painter. As a writer, I feel the beauty, which is almost entirely colour, very subtle, very changeable, running over my pen, as if you poured a large jug of champagne over a hairpin.”― Virginia Woolf"

    So glad to be here today

    much love...

    1. Yes! I'm with you on that jug of champagne and on ME TOO. Gosh. This day has been exciting. Thank you.

  7. Nice prompt! I'm going for "no color" this week using the "found form." I keep trying to go bike but every time it gets clear and I start to get ready it pours again. ~sigh~ I'm giving up for today we're supposed to get more rain and we do need it.

    Group hug! Have a great week.

  8. I love Annell's "Me, Too" painting. Wonderful! And I so admire what she says about colour. Infinite variations. I am grappling with the prompt and hope to come up with something in a bit.

    1. Oh, when I read Annell's words, I asked permission to use them and erased most of mine. She speaks from experience.

  9. Afternoon, Poets! Thanks, Susan, for the colorful post! I enjoyed reading Pied Beauty again!

    1. Yes, Pied Beauty was one poem too many, but impossible to omit.

  10. I love this prompt. I went for black and white photograph - absence of color.

  11. What a rich prompt, full of wondrous examples of colour and art! I especially love the George Eliot poem, which I hadn't seen before. But I chose to respond to Shara McCallum's brilliant poem to make one of my own which says something different.

    1. Thank you for being here, Rosemary. I had so much fun putting this prompt together that it kept growing. I almost didn't write a poem!

  12. I just added ears to my poem, a small--huge--rewrite. I took out the word "only" as it seemed untrue.


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