Clifton Snider

 

A Meditation on the Color White

White, color of this page,

contains all colors

of the rainbow,

a light unto itself,

 

a complement of black.

The Bible says Satan comes 

as an angel of light, beguiling 

in the darkness of night.

 

I once had a white cat I loved

with a black Turkish spot 

on her side, corresponding 

face mask and black tail. 

 

Splattered spots of bleach 

are permanent.  Let me keep 

the green or beige or black,—

original colors of my garments.

 

High beams of vehicles

hurt my eyes.  When I die

let me see a distant bright light 

at the end of my tunnel.

     

_____

 

                 

Some Reflections on the Color Pink

As is pink cotton candy 

to a pink cloud is 

to a pink elephant is

to the Pinkie painting.

 

So pink carnations are 

perfect for boutonnieres 

or to highlight a bouquet 

or a back yard.

 

Never eat a pink oleander 

or a foxglove 

or an Amaryllis belladonna.

All are pink & poison.

 

Give me a blue-eyed, 

pink-nosed cat 

or a trio of fake pink flamingoes 

or a flock of breathing birds.

 

Hot pink is special 

for Cadillacs & candy.

It is special too for baby girls 

and for baby boys. Thank you.

   

_____

                   
On the Color Gray

The dictionary says white,

absorbing most colors,

is often a shade of gray, 

a color between white & black:

 

gray eyes, 

gray clouds, 

gray wolves,

salt & pepper.

 

Give me gray tuxedo cats, 

elephants & rhinos, 

parrots & Northern mockingbirds, 

wet, wet mud in a dry season.

 

Give me the Good Gay & Gray Poet,

The Picture of Dorian Gray,

the breach of a gray whale,  

the penetrating gray of a doubt.

 

Give me gray matter, 

blended & clean, 

blood balanced, 

soaked & serene.                    

Just Keep Swimming

 

The queen Clown Fish

was born a male

like all the other fry.

 

She attends her court,

all male, among the sea

anemones.  

She agitates them

so they remain male.

 

When she dies

the biggest male

transitions into a female,

becomes the new queen

and the cycle continues.

 

_____

 

1917  (2019)

 

The archetypal hero's quest:

a mission in the waste land

of World War I France.

Two soldiers, Tom & William,

one order to save 1600 troops

from a German trap.

 

Tom is knifed to death

by a crashed German pilot

he tried to help.  William

shoots the pilot.

 

Lance Corporal William Scofield

must carry on alone

the business of war.

 

He descends into the hell

of a burning village at night,

 

encounters a French woman

and a lone baby,

recites Lear's "Jumblies,"

who "went to sea in a Sieve,"

to calm the infant,

gives her milk he'd got

from an abandoned farm,

 

descends further 

into a rushing river,

a waterfall,

bloated bodies,

finally the woods,

troops listening to a soldier

singing "I Am a Poor

wayfaring stranger,"

crossing Jordon, going home,

no more to roam.

Drenched, he's like a walking corpse

yet he delivers his message,

discovers Tom's brother,

rests at last

under a solitary tree.

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