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Special Collection II:
Emotions of Color

David F Williams, PhD, DSc, FREng, FLSW
Author, Scientist & Consultant

The poems included in this collection are 'Black Death and Black Lives', 'Red, Red, Wine', 'Heavenly Blue', 'Valley's So Green', 'Elephants in Grey Suits' and 'Tutu's Purple'.

Special Collection II:
Emotions of Color

Surveying Africa’s Rainbow Nation
At the turn of a tumultuous year
I reflect on the role color has in our feelings
Both everyday and exceptional

Sometimes deadly serious, as Black Lives Matter
Or profoundly descriptive, as purple with rage
With graphic detail, the color of blood spilt in insurrections
Or the lighthearted pink champagne
The orange, red, white, and yellow variants of hibiscus
The divisive red and blue of competing soccer teams
Vintners’ subtle differences of pinot gris and noir
The blanket of white snow that closes us down

Verse is a powerful forum, to express these emotions
As with these black, red, blue, green, purple, and grey lines

South Africa, December 2021 and January 2022

Black Death and Black Lives

Of course they matter
In the soul of darkness
Where light is cancelled,
Sucked into a hole out there
Unprotected by the Watch
In the starless, moonless night
Trapped in a mine of coaldust
Jaded, no, tarred, with despair
When skin-deep color
Offends your neighbor
Standing out like a London cab
In a Sea of Russian snow
And just before the dawn
When the sun threatens that darkness
Wear a new mask
To fight the day ahead
A Maori mask of strength and harmony
The Hakka of the All Blacks

Red, Red, Wine

Arterial blood drawing the borders of the Empire now lost
Regal carpets still fit for the Queen
And the Welsh shirt
The color of energy
Heat of temper on steel and angry faces
Like the rag to the bull
Looking upwards to the planet of war
Or the cold dwarfs beyond
Ignoring its lines, in sand or other,
Brings down careless Presidents
But succulent rare steaks and smooth claret make amends
Tails of hawks and foxes
Heads of Carolinian cardinals
The enticing breasts of English robins
Making young girls blush
The morning sky gives way to the evening’s Lady in Red

Heavenly Blue

Morning glory, heaven hides behind the clouds
So capricious, like forget-me-nots
An erotic glimpse of the untouchable
Then covered by nebulous veils
A color that exudes certainty
And despair in the same moment
Epitome of college eights and boxer’s bruises
A Nile and equatorial lagoon
Oceans reflecting the sky
Jays eating berries
That viscous venous matter, lacking oxygen
Needs constant sustenance
Not only once in a moon so blue

Valleys So Green

But they were, not are
As grass, of color at Tom’s home
Like forests, pampas and steppes
Recede, burns up, just disappear
In all its shades, profoundly of nature
Perverse always
One spectral phase not seen in the sky.
But it is not of man
Only negativity, with envy and sickness
Bile and festering flesh
None of which can a back note compensate
Parties and movements can’t compete
With corporate colors
So don’t let us try in their way.
Leave fiduciary and legal tactics behind
Focus on identity and strength
For lowly ambitions coalesce and expand
Like bubbles floating upwards
Turn yards into gardens
Parking lots into parks
Canopies of trees not signage
On the other side of hope
The grass can become greener

Elephants in Grey Suits

In England
(though not in Wales where this is done in red tartan)
Men in grey suits,
The secret hierarchy of party power
Tread, so quietly, the
Pathways of political intrigue
When one minister
Jeopardizes their dominion
They trample over him
Removed from tribal leadership
In Africa’s Knysna Forest
A few elephants in similar-colored suits
With similar silence and stealth
Pass along their secret pathways
Knowing, through vibrations and smell,
When enemies, within or usually without
Seek to impose their own ways
And they also trample over them
Till they are the color of ashen grey

Tutu’s Purple

Today, Desmond Tutu is interred,
Archbishop, Laureate, respected by the world
His ecclesiastical color is heard
Silently, no longer his grey curls
And mischievous but sincere laughter
To keep the other rainbow colors in check
Who can steer this country after
He has departed his pulpit’s beck.
While his voice could reach the rafters
He cautioned others to reflect
‘Don’t shout louder’ he implored
‘Improve your argument’, he advised
Truth cannot be forced
Reconciliation only comprised of
Genuine remorse, of course
Can reach the imposing standards
Of Desmond Tutu’s divine purple

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