Monday, May 17, 2010

Monday Poetry Stretch - Colorful Poetry

I'm working on a thematic book list about colors in nature. There are lots of concepts books for kids about colors, but it was only after raiding my shelves that I noticed how many beautiful books were focused on animal colors, flower colors, or colors in the natural world. Inspired by this list, I thought this might be a good time to write some colorful poetry.

Here are two poems about the color orange to inspire you. The first comes from Color Me a Rhyme: Nature Poems for Young People, written by Jane Yolen with photographs by Jason Stemple. The second comes from Flashy, Clashy, and Oh-So Splashy: Poems About Color, written by Laura Purdie Salas.

I want to take a bite
out of that sunset sky,
letting the orange juices
run down my chin,
spitting out the pulp
onto the rocks below.

Poem © Jane Yolen. All rights reserved.

Orange You Jealous of My Color?

I'm flashy
and clashy
and beautifully
and everyone notices me!

I'm bright
and unwhite,
quite a dazzling
I certainly hope you agree!

Poem © Laura Purdie Salas. All rights reserved.
What color will inspire you? Leave me a note about your poem and I'll post the results here later this week.


  1. Sea Is Sound; Air Is a Door Ajar
    By Steven Withrow

    Sea is sound; air is a door ajar.
    Sound is glass; door is the color of plums.
    Glass is brine, stippled with plum-warm rain.
    Brine is black; sea is glass-colored sound.
    Air is a jar of warm plums.
    Sound of rain is a door:
    Sea stippled, brine black, jar glass.

    ©2010 by Steven Withrow. All rights reserved.

  2. Puce

    You never hear red, yellow, and puce
    when kindergarteners talk crayons.

    Never lavender and puce when girls
    and their mothers plan bridal showers.

    Puce isn't painted into sunsets
    in poems, or the shadows of flower petals.

    It's never puce for a hero's t-shirt
    or a heroine's dress, except

    in historical fiction, and even then
    puce is reserved for unpleasant

    teapot-wielding ladies named Gertrude.
    Poor puce, which sounds like "puke"

    and is uncertain—dark red or a sort
    of grayish purple, depending.

    To finish off the indignity,
    its Latin root means "flea."

    --Kate Coombs, 2010, all rights reserved

  3. Blue is a song
    It makes me look in
    A spring feeds the river
    I go for a swim
    Each stroke gets me nearer
    To the story-filled sea
    Blue is a song
    And a feeling set free.

    - I really enjoyed writing this!
    Thanks for starting my day off with a poem,

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  5. Brown

    Brown is a color that feels like a friend.
    It's that sweater you wear every day.
    Brown is cool earth in a garden you tend
    on the very last weekend in May.
    Brown is a quiet old cat in your lap
    purring secrets into your soul.
    Brown is firewood.
    A nest full of eggs.
    Warm oatmeal in a bowl.
    If you ask my favorite color
    I think of cornstalks and tea.
    Let others have neon and rainbow.
    Brown is the color for me.

    © Amy Ludwig VanDerwater

  6. Thanks for including my poem, Tricia:>) I have fun reading that one to kids and explaining how the "Orange you glad I didn't say banana?" knock-knock joke inspired the title, and how I thought of orange as a bossy, show-offy person, and that's where I started the poem.

    Will try to write a color poem at my young authors conference today:>)

  7. Color Smells
    By Liz Korba

    The colors in a crayon box
    Smell all the same, it’s true
    But that’s the scent of crayons,
    Not of red or green or blue.
    Bright yellow smells like lemonade
    Lime green like new mowed grass
    Red is the rose perfume of spring
    Black’s hot-tarred road - or gas.
    Dark purple – that’s grape jelly
    Pure white – new fallen snow
    Brown is a blend of dirt and leaves
    That fell some time ago.
    Blue is the air beneath the sky,
    Blue changes with each season
    But orange has an orange smell -
    For some peculiar reason…

  8. Hi Tricia ~ since spring green is one of my favorite colors, at least when spring is upon us...


    Encircle me in lushness
    wrap your branches
    tightly about me
    as I breath in your
    verdant bouquet.
    Envelope me in
    your innocence,
    the chartreuse of
    your tender glow,
    oh soft and delicate
    leaves of spring
    just one last time
    before you go.

    © Carol Weis, all rights reserved

  9. All these poems sure inspire one to look more closely at colors! Here is mine - it's black.


    Black cormorants claim the poles
    silhouettes against the sky
    knobs, columns or a spread
    of wings hanging to dry.

    © Violet Nesdoly (all rights reserved)

  10. GRAY

    Two months before he and Mrs. Lincoln
    went to Ford's Theater, the president

    had a portrait taken at Mr. Gardner's
    Gallery. The photographer caught

    the shadow of Mr. Lincoln. He was
    by then, merely a body without its soul.

    Little did John Wilkes Booth know,
    his bullet would only be the coups de grace.

    Note: this was based on one of the saddest photos I have ever seen. It is the quintessence of gray for me. It was taken by Alexander Gardner, who, ironically, later "shot" the co-conspirators in Lincoln's assassination.

  11. maize

    golden tassels bend
    beneath yellow cornsilk sun
    a buttercream breeze

  12. I'm swamped with work so I won't contribute this week, but what a bunch of fine work. Puce - what a word for a color! And Steve, wow, that is a knock-out poem - I'm going to have to try to do that. Woven lines, very tricky to do well. Diane, I got a book about the Civil War when I was twelve, and I remember staring at that photo of Lincoln and just feeling miserable for him. Gray, that's exactly right.

  13. such cool poems!

    I'm delighted to say I wrote a color poem today. You can find it on my blog here: