Tonight, I want to celebrate the colour red. What a powerful colour it is – it always sends a strong message.
Let’s think for a moment about what it means.
Red is the colour of blood, and of fire. A white rose means purity, but a red rose means passion. Red is the colour of sunrise and sunset. It’s the colour of cherries. We all know that Snow White was given the rosy red side of the apple, while the wicked witch took the green side. Foolish girl!
Think about what a pair of red shoes means – dancing unstoppably. Or maybe a scarlet letter for a scarlet woman. Red lights mean danger.
In many Asian countries, red is the colour of celebration and brides wear red robes. And of course, red is the colour of the little red dots on Twitter and WordPress that tell you you’ve got a notification.
Yes, red certainly makes itself noticed.
Tonight, I want you to bring a little red into your poem. Maybe you’ll write about the colour itself, bring it to life with metaphor and imagery. Maybe you’ll add a little dot of it – as Turner did when he added a red buoy to a seascape- just to give extra life and excitement.
Here are some classic poems featuring red, just to start you off:
Red – Ted Hughes
Red was your colour.
If not red, then white. But red
Was what you wrapped around you.
Blood-red. Was it blood?
Was it red-ochre, for warming the dead?
Haematite to make immortal
The precious heirloom bones, the family bones.
When you had your way finally
Our room was red. A judgement chamber.
Shut casket for gems. The carpet of blood
Patterned with darkenings, congealments.
The curtains — ruby corduroy blood,
Sheer blood-falls from ceiling to floor.
The cushions the same. The same
Raw carmine along the window-seat.
A throbbing cell. Aztec altar — temple.
Only the bookshelves escaped into whiteness.
And outside the window
Poppies thin and wrinkle-frail
As the skin on blood,
Salvias, that your father named you after,
Like blood lobbing from the gash,
And roses, the heart’s last gouts,
Catastrophic, arterial, doomed.
Your velvet long full skirt, a swathe of blood,
A lavish burgundy.
Your lips a dipped, deep crimson.
You revelled in red.
I felt it raw — like crisp gauze edges
Of a stiffening wound. I could touch
The open vein in it, the crusted gleam.
Everything you painted you painted white
Then splashed it with roses, defeated it,
Leaned over it, dripping roses,
Weeping roses, and more roses,
Then sometimes, among them, a little blue
Blue was better for you. Blue was wings.
Kingfisher blue silks from San Francisco
Folded your pregnancy
In crucible caresses.
Blue was your kindly spirit — not a ghoul
But electrified, a guardian, thoughtful.
In the pit of red
You hid from the bone-clinic whiteness.
But the jewel you lost was blue.
And of course:
The Red Wheelbarrow – William Carlos Williams – 1883-1963
so much depends
a red wheel
glazed with rain
beside the white
You know what to do: write a poem, link it up to our old friend Mr Linky, then take a tour of our dVerse poets, read and comment.
Please remember to put a link back to this post in your poem. That will lead your readers here, so that they can join in too. It increases everybody’s readership!
Pingback: The mask of the red death | Björn Rudbergs writings
Oh, darn, I had a theme for a poem today and this doesn’t fit it. Okay, back to the notebook to scritch in some new thoughts. Since it’s midday, I’ll stick to milk, and the cookies I made just now. (and you hit two of my favorite poets in the examples!)
Welcome to the bar – newly decorated tonight in red velvet, serving red red wine and Bloody Marys!
Björn Rudberg (brudberg) said:
I like this… though my poem turned dark… and I realized the world has turned a bit like the nightmare of the worst horror story I have ever read. The mask of the red death.
Frank Hubeny said:
Red does send a strong message. More warlike and passionate than peaceful green or yellow. I like your theme focused around a color. Thanks for hosting, Sarah.
‘Only the bookshelves escaped into whiteness’ – good ol’ Ted. Hawkeyes! Lovely post.
Good evening everyone and thank you Sarah for the red theme – not a colour I would wear, but I do love red poppies, tulips and geraniums. I don’t usually drink, but a glass of red, red wine would be lovely!
Pingback: dVerse Poets – Loving Red – The Bag Lady
Hello Sarah and All. Yet another grey and freezing day. A bit of color is a welcomed change. How about a cup of hot rooibos (red) tea, if you have it please?
Pingback: Red wine | Fmme writes poems
Pingback: dVerse — red velvet cake – Tao Talk
Pingback: red decay – Tina Stewart Brakebill
Tina Stewart Brakebill said:
thanks! Mine went dark … but that’s red.
it certainly is!
Tina Stewart Brakebill said:
It’s a tricky one 😉😇
Pingback: red meets dusky red | rivrvlogr
Pingback: The Carrier – The Abject Muse
Pingback: Fiery Passion | revivedwriter
Hello, everyone! Thanks for this fun theme. Mine is a little silly, but I’m fine with that. 🙂 I’ll have a coffee if you’ve got it.
Coffee it is! A little silliness is very welcome at the moment. It feels like everything is a little too serious.
I’m abandoning my post, and I’m off to bed! Do help yourselves. The bar is open 24 hours a day!
Pingback: Red – Poetry, Short Prose and Walking
I am thinking of red blends, thanks for hosting! I will pour myself a drink. Thanks for hosting
Pingback: scarlet-berry-marxist-poem | mefeedyoume - poesiatry
Pingback: Red Sleep | Na'ama Yehuda
Na'ama Yehuda said:
So many ways to red … Love this.
Left my contribution with the linky, copied here.
Thought I would be ready for a nice glass of Merlot … or, perhaps, let’s make it a nice clear Riesling instead?
Pingback: dVerse Poetics — Seeing Red – JP the Wide-eyed Wanderer
Sherry Marr said:
Cool prompt, Sarah. It spoke to me.
Pingback: Red Planet – Peter Frankis writes
Me too. I had this on my ‘to write’ list for a while just waiting for you to come along – So thanks – and looking forward reading everyone’s work later tonight.
Pingback: april, be all but red – A Reading Writer
Pingback: fairy dust – aroused
Pingback: Looking Out the Window – Yesterday and today: Merril's historical musings
Hi Sarah! Thanks for hosting. I just couldn’t manage anything last night, and now I’ve combined prompts. Though there is so many ways to go with this one! I’ll be back in a bit to read.
Tina Stewart Brakebill said:
went a bit lighter for my second attempt!
Pingback: Stronger in each generation | Xanku
Pingback: Raw power – Reena Saxena
Pingback: Red Line – a poem by Paul Vincent Cannon | parallax
Thank you Sarah for hosting and prompting, I love red.
Pingback: Scarlet Flax Charmed Chaos
Linda Lee Lyberg said:
Hi All- Thanks for hosting Sarah, a little late but here! I too combined prompts….
Better late than never, Linda…it’s lovely to see you here.
Pingback: red is the color of passion – Tina Stewart Brakebill
Inspired and great to be here with you all. Thank you for this amazing post Sarah.
It’s lovely to have you here. I have enjoyed this prompt so much.
Pingback: Red is for you | Prats Corner
Pingback: Passion | thoughts and entanglements
I have enjoyed reading these poems so much – you’ve covered every aspect of red I can think of, and some I hadn’t thought of at all! So much strong emotion, and a little sprinkling of joy and laughter.
Goodness….this is the latest I’ve ever posted! Wonderful prompt, Sarah. Somehow, this sheltering in has me a bit discombobulated….I find myself finding much to do which I can’t understand…and the day just flies by. I’ve taken up painting again….trying to finish books on my Kindle before they are due at the library, cleaning out closets!
Anyway….I finally got posted here! 🙂 Will try to read a few this morning and catch up a bit!
Pingback: OpenLinkNight #263 | dVerse
Pingback: Bonsai – PoetryPix