That doesn’t sound right, does it? Everybody knows that Mondays are blue. I don’t know what colour Tuesdays are. Green, maybe?

Anyhow, hello, poets! Welcome to the poets’ pub, serving up hot and cold poems, crunchy stanzas and intriguing word choices.

In March last year, I asked you to write some red poems. Tonight, I want you to write me some blue poems.

Red is pretty straightforward. It’s out there – fiery, passionate, dangerous! Blue is different. It’s a little cooler, a little stranger, a little more mysterious.

Let’s think about blue for a bit. Blue is the sky and the sea, obviously, so we associate it with calm and peacefulness. Other than that, there’s not much of it in nature. Most of the flowers we call “blue” are actually purple, there are few blue birds and lizards, a handful of butterflies, and a couple of fish. We recoil from blue food, because we associate the colour with blue mould. 

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What else does blue mean? Well, you can feel blue. You can sing the blues. A blue movie is…well, blue. Blue is the colour of the distant hills, the far horizon. And you can’t help thinking it would have been a different song altogether if she’d worn red velvet.

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Anyone who has seen a nativity play will know that the Virgin Mary wears blue. That’s because that blue pigment was the most expensive paint of all. It was made from lapis lazuli, mined from a single mine in Afghanistan. In the 12th century the Catholic church decreed that Mary should be depicted wearing blue because it was such a precious commodity. Later, blue became associated with kingship – Louis XI of France wore blue, King Arthur was depicted wearing blue – and the Italian football team wear blue because it was the colour of the house of Savoy, founded in 1003.

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Here’s a poem by Robert Francis that takes blue head on:

Blue Winter

Winter uses all the blues there are.
One shade of blue for water, one for ice,
Another blue for shadows over snow.
The clear or cloudy sky uses blue twice-
Both different blues. And hills row after row
Are colored blue according to how for.
You know the bluejay’s double-blur device
Shows best when there are no green leaves to show.
And Sirius is a winterbluegreen star.

And here’s one by Amy Lowell that has a splash of blue:

The Blue Scarf

Pale, with the blue of high zeniths, shimmered over with silver, brocaded

In smooth, running patterns, a soft stuff, with dark knotted fringes, it lies there,

Warm from a woman’s soft shoulders, and my fingers close on it, caressing.

Where is she, the woman who wore it? The scent of her lingers and drugs me.

A languor, fire-shotted, runs through me, and I crush the scarf down on my face,

And gulp in the warmth and the blueness, and my eyes swim in cool-tinted heavens.

Around me are columns of marble, and a diapered, sun-flickered pavement.

Rose-leaves blow and patter against it. Below the stone steps a lute tinkles.

A jar of green jade throws its shadow half over the floor. A big-bellied

Frog hops through the sunlight, and plops in the gold-bubbled water of a basin,

Sunk in the black and white marble. The west wind has lifted a scarf

On the seat close beside me; the blue of it is a violent outrage of colour.

She draws it more closely about her, and it ripples beneath her slight stirring.

Her kisses are sharp buds of fire; and I burn back against her, a jewel

Hard and white, a stalked, flaming flower; till I break to a handful of cinders,

And open my eyes to the scarf, shining blue in the afternoon sunshine.

How loud clocks can tick when a room is empty, and one is alone!

And here is Blue Velvet:

So tonight, let’s write blue. A splash of blue, an ocean of blue, a shimmer of blue. Gaze into the distance, or look down at the sapphire on your finger. Take us to the Blue Ridge Mountains or the Blue Lagoon. Hand me a Blue Monday cocktail, slap some blues on the juke box and let’s poem.

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You know what to do:

  • WRITE your poem
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