Colorful Poems

April 3rd, 2009

Our way begins on the other side.
Become the sky.
Take an axe to the prison wall.
Walk out like someone suddenly born into color.
Do it now.



April is National Poetry month. I love the idea of playing with the Creative Every Day Challenge's theme of color and poetry. How could you mesh the two?


You could:

*Write about yourself as a color, as in "I am blue. I am soft, ethereal, just-woken."

*Write about how a color feels, how it smells, and tastes.

*Paint a wash of your favorite color in a journal and write the lines of your favorite poems over it.

*Play with writing a poem in color, mixing the words with what colors you imagine them to be.

*Turn your head to the right, what's the first color you see? Right a poem about it.

*Use a colorful photograph as the jumping off point for a piece of poetry.

*What is your least favorite color? What is it about that color that you dislike? Write free-form style about it.

*Read a favorite poem. Does it seem to reflect a certain color for you?

*What childhood memories does the color red bring up for you? Let that be a starting point. Red makes me think of my sister's stained t-shirts, popsicles in summer that turned our tongues red, the choke berries in the woods that made me wonder if they really did make a person choke, the red jumpsuit I was wearing the day I got my first period.

Color can hold so many associations, so many memories. Where do those color memories take you?

For more poetry goodness, check out:

*National Poetry Month

*Resources for writing poetry with kids

*Favorite Poem Project

*NaPoWriMo at Read Write Poem

Red bird came all winter
firing up the landscape
as nothing else could.
~Mary Oliver

And I couldn't resist sharing...more Mary Oliver below...

Red Bird Explains Himself
“Yes, I was the brilliance floating over the snow
and I was the song in the summer leaves, but this was
only the first trick
I had hold of among my other mythologies,
for I also knew obedience: bring sticks to the nest,
food to the young, kisses to my bride.

But don’t stop there, stay with me: listen.
If I was the song that entered your heart
then I was the music of your heart, that you wanted and needed,
and thus wilderness bloomed that, with all its
followers: gardeners, lovers, people who weep
for the death of rivers.
And this was my true task, to be the
music of the body.  Do you understand? for truly the body needs
a song, a spirit, a soul.  And no less, to make this work,
the soul has need of a body,
and I am both of the earth and I am of the inexplicable
beauty of heaven
where I fly so easily, so welcome, yes,
and this is why I have been sent, to teach this to your heart.”
~ Mary Oliver ~
(Red Bird)


17 Responses

Ooooo, so many juicy ideas here, Leah ! I am looking forward to jumping into this theme. How cool that it is Poetry month two – such a perfect partnership.

Thanks for all the great ideas !

Looked to my right,
saw brown
Looked to my left,
saw brown…
how did a girl
as colorful as me
end up surrounded by brown
so endlessly…

Colour and poetry…
sit like two peas
in a green pod,
side by side.
Each singing a song
that feeds the heart.

Thanks for the inspiration Leah!

Hi Leah – I love poetry, reading and writing it – thanks for the cool nudges and appetizers: delicious
Here’s two resources I have used lovingly for getting the poetic juices flowing
(1) Poemcrazy by Susan Wooldridge
(2) Writing Poetry by Shelley Tucker

Funny I started out April with color poetry and knew then it would become part of everything this month I did in response to Creative Every Day.

Think you can’t write poetry? Try some of the basic forms like Cinquains ( ) or Diamantes ( ) Haiku, couplets or quatrains.

hazy white against
lazy blues
as emeralds sparkle beneath.
woolen creams
wandering aimlessly, transform
as cloudy reflections
slowly become but sheep in the field.

I love this theme! Most of my work for the last 6 months has been inspired by poetry, it’s an amazing source of inspiration! I love the Oliver poem! Thank you.

Brilliant…loads of inspiration..thanks Leah….now just to choose what to do first!x

Great post. I’m actually using Poetry month to get back into poetry. I started writing on the first and I’ve done three so far.. so hey!

A great prompt to do color poetry. Whatever that might mean.

At last count, I”m trying to paint a flying girl, write a poem, paint an ACEO spirit girl, sketch something from life every day. I mean, each one, every day. Sometimes I miss one. Or two.

What color of crazy is that?

Wow, what a great motivation to explore some old favourites in the poetry books and pull out the watercolours to play with too. Hmmmm and the papers that I have been accumulating because I thought they were interesting and, and, and…

Yum. So easy to “go in” with poetry when invited by something so specific. Thanks honey. (and then, double yum: glancing through your comments i was reminded of my old favorite “poemcrazy” … damn; i lent that to someone and never got it back. oh well, amazon, here i come!) :)

Thank you so much for this inspiration…I will have to use this!!! I love poetry!!

here’s a stanza from one of my works in my chapbook, Shift. It combines last month’s “dream” theme with this month’s colors and I meant to post it on the 1st but hey, it’s only the 5th!

In the dream the yellow cat with six eyes
longs to be touched
taken from the darkness where it lives
beside the cartoon house
with rainbow bricks.

The river is rising. it has crested the old pathway
and the house may soon crumble.
But the cat loves the finny fish
flashing turqoise and blue in the meadow’s pond
and will not leave.
(from an actual dream)

This is wonderful! I just wrote a colorful poem with a bit of humor in it as I don’t incorporate humor as much in my poems. I am doing NaPoWriMo again this year, so I’ve been so busy that I haven’t gotten a chance to come back to this wonderful site until today!

I am enjoying the many features and different works by various people! Everyone’s so creative! :)

Here’s the colorful poem I’ve written with Read Write Poem and NaPoWriMo:

Wow-so much potential here for beautiful poetry-I can’t wait to dip in and see what comes forth.
Thank you ….

Here’s a great program – Poetry Out Loud.
It’s a national poetry recitation contest. I first learned of it last year when a friend’s daughter was the state winner and she went on to the nationals in Washington, D.C.
The site has lots of good links.
The local gallery (where I have art) had a poetry recitation featuring Emily and others interested in reading/reciting poetry. For me, this was excellent because just reading poetry to myself doesn’t grab me like it does so many. Hearing it, especially by someone who is gifted in expressing the poetry, made me become interested in it.

Great post. How fun! I love Mary Oliver. I’ve written lots of color poems, so much fun! Thanks for all you’re doing.

I work in a learning/preschool program with children from the ages of 0-6. I have just returned with some great ideas from a training that I went too. I am having problems tho finding poems about colors without having to pay for them. do you know of any sites where I can find them?
thanks for the help

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