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Colors And Articles Of Clothing: A Poetry Writing Exercise

Updated on June 14, 2016
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Recently I observed how infrequently I mention colors in my writing. Since I would like to break this bad habit, I’ve designed a writing exercise combining the names of certain colors and items of clothing. Quickly I realized that it would be difficult to create coherent poems without linking words such as “and” and “with,” as well as names and action words such as “wore” and “purchased”. The clothing item list was inspired by the items of clothing listed at www.look.co.uk/clothing. My only requirement was I needed to list at least fifteen items of clothing.

The list of colors was compiled mainly using the colors listed at www.math.ubbcluj.ro/~sberinde/wingraph/main.html For the colors I required a mixture of plainly named ones—such as orange and yellow—with more exotically named ones. I didn’t set a limit on how many color names I could use; I did, however, insist on having at least fifteen colors listed. The linking words were chosen because they are commonly used words. I decided on having six name options, as this made it possible to list an equal number of male and female names. The action words are somewhat generic, although wore/wear and purchased were selected because they seemed applicable to the subject matter.

A fun poem about the color orange by a sixth grader

The rules for all poems created with these variables are straightforward. Each poem must contain at least ten clothing items, ten colors, and two names. I can use as many linking words and action words as I please. Also, linking words and action words can be used more than once in a single poem, whereas clothing items, colors, and names can be mentioned only once per poem. Each poem has to be at least six lines long; none of these poems are allowed to exceed twenty lines. I didn’t include the word “colored” next to any of the color names because I thought this would make the poems too wordy. Nonetheless, I recognize that this omission may have hindered the readability of the poems.

After composing four poems with these variables and constraints, I must confess that this exercise forced me to stretch myself creatively. I could even, on occasion, envision how certain outfits in the poems might look. If I did this exercise again, I would add more action word options. Finally, the excessive use of color in these poems reminds me that it is at least as grave an error to mention color too often as it is to mention color infrequently.

Clothing Items:

boxer shorts; toe socks; pantyhose; bell bottoms; denim overalls; bra; briefs; panties; coat; dress; rain jacket; jumpsuit; lingerie; sneakers; scarf; capri pants; short shorts; mini skirt; suspenders; khakis; jean jacket; legwarmers; wool socks; pajama pants; nightgown; shirt

The color on this wall is called weeping wisteria.
The color on this wall is called weeping wisteria. | Source
This wall is painted cerulean blue.
This wall is painted cerulean blue. | Source

Colors:

aquamarine

bitter lemon

blaze orange

burgundy

carmine (a dark, burnt red)

cerulean (a deep, intense blue)

eggplant (a dark pink)

fractal (a muted gray)

goldenrod (a dark, mustardy yellow)

malachite (a light, cheerful green)

navy

pumpkin

sangria (a dark, emotive red)

wisteria (a pale pink/purple)

yellow

orange

Linking words:

and; of; or; with; no; but; yet; under; beside; off; on; and; his; he; because; to; was; a; from; she; he; for; only; her


Names:

  1. Gloria 2. Anthony 3. Andre 4. Bethany 5. Alexia 6. Joe

Action words: wore/wear; discarded; purchased; abhorred; desired; ran; skipped; fell;

surrendered; borrowed; embarrassed

Navy-colored boxer shorts
Navy-colored boxer shorts | Source

The poems:


A First Date For Gloria And Joe


Gloria was embarrassed

to wear bitter lemon pantyhose with

orange capri pants, and a

carmine jean jacket.


She borrowed aquamarine

bell bottoms and pumpkin

toe socks from Bethany.


Joe purchased navy boxer shorts, malachite

suspenders, and a burgundy coat.


She abhorred wisteria legwarmers and

desired goldenrod sneakers.

A goldenrod-colored scarf
A goldenrod-colored scarf | Source

Inside Gloria and Alexia’s Closet


For Gloria: sangria dress, wisteria

wool socks, navy bra, and

bitter lemon jumpsuit.


From Alexia: carmine nightgown,

malachite sneakers, cerulean

mini skirt, cadet blue

pajama pants, goldenrod scarf,

and eggplant pantyhose.

Burgundy-colored bell bottom
Burgundy-colored bell bottom | Source

Fashion Mistakes


Bethany desires a blaze orange

jumpsuit with aquamarine legwarmers

and a goldenrod rain jacket.


Anthony purchased burgundy bell

bottoms and bitter lemon wool socks.


Alexia discarded her fractal lingerie,

wisteria dress, and eggplant shirt.


For Joe: pumpkin sneakers and

carmine khakis.


Only Gloria: malachite mini skirt and

cadet blue toe socks.

Orange legwarmers
Orange legwarmers | Source

Party Outfits


For Gloria: wisteria bra, fractal panties,

and a blaze orange coat.


Anthony wore his cadet blue

jumpsuit with a bitter lemon jean jacket.


On Andre: carmine toe socks, yellow briefs,

and eggplant khakis.


Bethany wore only cerulean short

shorts and a malachite

nightgown.


Alexia borrowed a navy

rain jacket and orange legwarmers.


On Joe: pumpkin denim overalls

and a goldenrod shirt.

Another delightful poem about color by a sixth grader

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    • Julie K Henderson profile image
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      Julie K Henderson 2 years ago

      poetryman6969: Thank you for commenting. I, too, like considering the name people give colors. I enjoyed writing about the fractal panties. Your comment about the "puke green running shorts" made me laugh out loud.

    • poetryman6969 profile image

      poetryman6969 2 years ago

      I rather like the fractal panties and the bitter jacket!

      You can definitely get some ideas just looking at the names people give colors. Hot pink and puke green for instance. She never lacked for attention--the hot pink tank top and the puke green running shorts saw to that.