Poetry – Time Is A Palette

Poetry - Time Is A Palette

each day has its color
each day its own color
on the wheel

and they are wrong who say
all colors are gray
they are blind
or else

well I remember the primary days
the reds and yellows and blues
those brilliant saturated hues
each its own bright self

a day red as a ripe warm plum
on the mouth
staining chin and blouse with summer
while leaves on a red tree flamed
in crimson joy

and there were other reds
for feathers dipped in blood
to sign youth’s honor on a windless sky
running over rooftops
most solemneyed

or red for something velvet deep
over quivering flesh and trembling hair
stabbing the breath
with a wild commotion
like coroncitas on a christmas tree

a vivid red each time
coloring morning to evening canvas
of that particular day
connecting sleep with sleep
in the intimate dye

yellow was first word for gold
then sun
and it was always rich
like the promise of a wedding ring
or shining birthday coin

yellow was wish
more often than anything seen or heard
except for the canary my father kept
as his own yellow sign
pure and unalloyed

mostly it was feeling
the evidence and substance in one
symbol of perfection and as rare
when harsh-cold-rough were there
it wasn’t yellow

precious as treasure
awarded by the gods to saint and hero
like the holy grail
the lost chord
those unrecoverable legends

blue was definite
less temperamental than red
more tangible than yellow
like summer sigh or puff of winter air
the outlines of dawn to dusk

blue was practical and necessary
like the blueing used in my mother’s wash
like smoke
water air and sky blue
for everything clear and understandable

but blue had magic too
meaning giant ships and giant fish
rockets to the moon and planet shores
too big and far away
too terribly true

a glamorous color blue
suiting cinderella’s glass slipper
forget me nots and chinese porcelain
and once I found a blue shell
so fragile I let it crumble on the sand

but even the primary colors
are not all the colors
and each day has its color
each day radiates its own color
on the wheel

and they are wrong who say
all colors are gray
unable to remember
unwilling to separate
with desperate impatience

— Elizabeth Bartlett