Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Seeing colours

Here is a red poem that I was working on the other week. It came about for lots of reasons (Swiss was working on some very interesting colour poems, then there was the statement that appears in the first line...) but it is part of a big ongoing project other than that. Some of the lines are very long so they run over which is annoying but I'm sure I'll cope. Also as I always start a line with a capital letter you will know when it is meant to be a new line and when it is not (if you're bothered...)! There are some obvious red omissions (no poet's wheelbarrow, no Chris de Burgh...) but other than that it pretty much has the red kitchen sink. So see what you fink.

Variations on a theme called red

She tells me red is the colour of courage
And I say 'oh, yes...that makes sense'
Though I'm really not sure that it does

But I'm here to find sense so I look hard
And manage a red cross, some red blood
Red Adair for heaven's sake

Encouraged, I click the heels of my red shoes
(Just for effect – they're silver in the book, you know)
And try hard to visualise a red kite swooping through a red night sky

Instead all I see are swarming red triangles
Red flags warning danger
Poisoned apples, watch out!

Then it all gets silly busy and I spot
A redhead, a red under a bed, a sense-defying spread of different lights that are all red
And even (can this be right?) a red-eyed red setter in a red hat reading a little red book


I fear that I am taking this far too literally
So I take notes from my pulse, search hedgerows for roses
And wonder, deep and dark, about courage, about love

RF 2009



Dave King said...

That is a splendid effort. I am full of admiration for something I know I could not have done. Do you know of the OULIPO school? I think you might have been their High Priestess had you been born a little earlier!

Rachel Fox said...

Dave I think you are the high priest of flattery...but thanks very much anyway.

I have had not heard of the Oulipo (but then I am a bit allergic to schools of writing of all kinds (as mentioned in my very loose poetry rules post here). I read the page though and it was interesting so thanks for the link.


Rachel Fox said...

Obviously I was experimenting with the potential of brackets in that last comment...

Ken Armstrong said...

"Take notes from my pulse." I should so that. Nice that Red Adair got a mention it reminds me of a long joke about an Irish firefighter called Green Adair.

You wouldn't remember Red Skelton? :)

deemikay said...

This has changed an awful lot since I read it!

I've written about the oulipo before - me's a fan. But this isn't *very* oulipo-ish. (Oulipo is the "workshop for potential literature"... they come up with new forms for writers. And have (had) as many mathematicians in them as writers. Two of my favourite writers, Perec and Calvino, were in the Oulipo)

Two oulipo posts in here. But I wrote more at my old abandoned blog.

Rachel Fox said...

Ken...never heard of Red Skelton though I just went for a quick wiki-life-in-twenty-seconds and was pleased to find reference to the International Clown Hall of Fame. Boy, that must be one full hall...

And D, I did consider posting the original version too to show what I'd started out with and how it had changed. But then I didn't want to distract from this version which I quite like (for now). I had quite a few fights with it the other week (when was it - a fortnight ago?) but we are friends now.

Kat Mortensen said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one who experiments with the potential of brackets. (I seem to do it all the time.

There's a great poetry blog out there called Yes Is Red, by the way.

I liked the way some lines were a bit long--we don't always have to chop our thoughts down just to conform to an aesthetic, do we?


P.S. Ken - We had Red Skelton on in our house on a regular basis. "Clem Kadiddlehopper" is a classic!

Rachel Fox said...

Oh yes, non-stop experimenting here! I'm trying to think of an area of life where I am not into experimenting (or have not been at some point...)...I guess religion maybe (if you can call that an area of life...I suppose it is).

Titus said...

Love it.

Rachel Fox said...

Thank-you, oh wise dog of Dumfries. You are truly a terrier of taste.

Jim Murdoch said...

Yes, this works very nicely, very nicely indeed. Pity you couldn't have fitted in 99 red balloons but one can't have everything. That's what sequels are for.

Rachel Fox said...

Oh and a thumbs up from Jim really-quite-hard-to-please Murdoch! Now I'm happy.
And you made me laugh with the balloons thing.

swiss said...

red buttons!

did you see the jasper/carnelian thing? i have another 'red' poem but it's just not pretty! lol

Rachel Fox said...

Red Buttons...I had to wiki to check him but lo, he was in the 'Poseidon Adventure' (which I loved as a child)...and many other things.

Plus what thing? Poem of yours? Because you take your poems down (after a week is it?) I can never go back and look at them again so I forget. All I remember is that I really liked the colours ones.


Totalfeckineejit said...

I really like this, Rachel. Why do I like it? I don't know, that's why I really like it.Is that an oxymoron or a chiasmus or some fekin thing?

Rachel Fox said...

Oh thank-you TFE...I've been having a needy day with this poem today ('fool, why did you post that, you thought it was good, moron' etc.) so that's pushed the neediness further back for a while!

As for not knowing why you like something...I feel like that about a lot of my favourite music and writing and all kinds of art. I may have an inkling why I like something (some general ideas) but a lot of what I like about it is fairly mysterious to me and that is one of the things I like about it. We were talking about mystery just a while back weren't we?


Totalfeckineejit said...

Yes, Rachel, mystery, that's it exactly, we need much more mystery and much less explanation, thank you, poetry prof and Mr scientist.

Rachel Fox said...

As long as we don't have to have the Toyah song as our theme tune...

Bubba said...

If you squeeze your eyes shut tightly, you can see red... and if you squeeze even tighter, it turns white. And just what does that mean? Nothing at all, just like most things.

Peter Goulding said...

Sorry, Rachel, you've lost me with this one, though I do like the images (Don't worry, I don't get a lot of poetry)

Rachel Fox said...

You don't need to get it, Peter... it's really just an exploration of red. Somebody did say the 'colour of courage' thing and I was just working through that in my mind. How they come up with those theories about colour things I really don't know (used in lots of alternative therapies). It sounds nice (that kind of theory) but I'm afraid there is a lot of mumbo jumbo in there too...even more than in poetry!

NanU said...

An excellent red poem. I like how it wanders away and then comes back to its start.

Rachel Fox said...

I hadn't really thought about that...but you're right! Thanks NanU.

Erratic Thoughts said...

For me Red always said Stop..
But now I know it also says Courage!
I see some finer segments of Red and they sound lovely:)

Rachel Fox said...

Thanks ET.