Self-Portrait with Blue
Darker shades contain black or grey. I claim
the median and the shortened spectrum, near dawn’s terminus.
In many languages, one word describes both blue and green.
Homer had no word for it.
The color of moonlight and bruises, of melancholy and unmet
expectation, it cools and calms, and slows the heart.
Woad. Indigo. Azurite. Lapis lazuli. Dyes. Minerals. Words. Alchemy.
On this clear day I stretch my body on the pond’s surface and submerge.
Not quite of earth, blue protects the dead against evil in the afterlife,
and offers the living solace through flatted notes and blurred 7ths.
Blue eyes contain no blue pigment.
In China, it is associated with torment. In Turkey, with mourning.
Between despair and clarity, reflection and detachment,
admit the leaves and sky, the ocean, the earth.
Water captures the red, but reflects and scatters blue.
Look to me and absorb, and absorbing, perceive.
This originally appeared in the Silver Birch Press Self-Portrait Series, and is included in The Circumference of Other, my offering in the Silver Birch Press chapbook collection, IDES, scheduled to be published on October 15.