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History of Color
by
Ellaraine Lockie


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Color has a quiet history here
The creek, reservoir and river as clear
and toneless as air on a calm day
Even rainwater runs mute brown
And when wind stirs the prairie
dust and weeds tumble in a grey line dance
 
Winter howls in white
or in the crystalline of cut glass
Fall, spring and summer live as plain
and pale as honesty
Except for the tease of temporary
from penny blossoms that scatter
wealth of color like Easter eggs
Or the sun that briefly bares its soul
in sunsets and rainbow pastels
 
Earth tones weave through greens to hide wildlife
And hues of sky and mountain blues long ago
became invisible behind the cloud of everyday
People wearing primary colors
rode in on the train
Synthetic dyes from cities
as loud but short-lived as the whistle
 
They came in mail trucks
inside Sears and Roebuck catalogues
Whose pages cried Buy me in outhouses
before they were returned to the earth
Only if crops were good on a given year
might colors have sung their praises
on women and children in church
 
But never the scarlet-woman color
Red didn't shout from lips or clothes in public
And blood still lives a private life here
sneaking out in hospitals and slaughter sheds
Thoughts of crime wash clean in the silence
of social control in such a well-mannered world 
surrounding the clotheslines


From Wild as in Familiar (Finishing Line Press, 2011).
Used with the author's permission.
Purchase a framed print of this poem.

Ellaraine Lockie lives in Sunnyvale, CA, where she is a full-time writer of poetry, nonfiction books and essays; a freelance writing workshop instructor; poetry editor for the lifestyle magazine, Lilipoh; and a frequent judge of literary contests. Her poetry is widely published and awarded and she is the author of ten books, the most recent being Wild as in Familiar, from Finishing Line Press, in which this poem appears. Her chapbook, Stroking David's Leg, received the Best Individual Collection Award for 2010 from Purple Patch magazine in England, and Red for the Funeral won the 2010 San Gabriel Poetry Festival Chapbook Contest. Ellaraine is also a professional papermaker who has worked with community projects in that capacity in South Africa and for various U. S. businesses. A video featuring Ellaraine's poetry, handmade papers, and handbound books can be seen here. Read more about her at http://literati.net/ellaraine-lockie.

 

 


Post New Comment:
marenomitchell:
So elegant and intelligent! Thanks for posting.
Posted 02/23/2012 06:07 PM
dotief@comcast.net:
Magnificent visuals! And I love the contrast between the "temporary" and that which "returned to earth." But I especially love the notion of blood living "a private life." Ain't that the way it usually goes!?!
Posted 02/23/2012 08:12 AM


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