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Original Poem: "Power of Color" with Commentary

Updated on July 5, 2018
Maya Shedd Temple profile image

Writing poetry became my major composing activity circa 1962, and taking a creative writing class in 1963-64 deepened my growing interest.

Der Maler im Garten

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Introduction and Text of "Power of Color"

My poem, "Power of Color," demonstrates the van Goghian assertion that the act of creating heralds forth a power not recognized before the act began. The power of creation itself stimulates the soul recourses to assert their dominance over inertia to produce a new product in the natural order.

Power of Color

"While painting, I feel a power of color in me that I did not possess before.” —Vincent van Gogh

They talked in a fresh wash of sunshine.
She led him through her garden.

Blushing tomatoes, cucumbers almost ready,
Bordered by marigolds.

He wore Vincent on his t-shirt that day. They fondled poems
And listened for the voice that calls lovers to touch.

She leaned against The Starry Night.
Touched his face with the tips of her fingers.
The soft pressure of his lips controlled her tongue
And it believed the wet lie his tongue was telling.

His seed took root in her soul:
Sprouting green thoughts.
The red of a kiss. The gold of fingertips
On skin. Gazing blue eyes.

While writing poems, she feels a power of color in her
She did not possess before the touching.

Van Gogh's Starry Night

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Commentary

The epigram to the poem is a quotation by Vincent van Gogh, and the poet incorporates a van Gogh painting in the poem, echoing van Gogh’s possession of the “power of color.”

First Movement: In a Garden Talking

They talked in a fresh wash of sunshine.
She led him through her garden.

The two people who appear in the poem are conversing in a garden. The sun shines on them and on the garden. The idea of color is immediately introduced as gardens are always repositories of vibrant colors, especially in the bright light of the sun.

Second Movement: Near Harvest

Blushing tomatoes, cucumbers almost ready,
Bordered by marigolds.

The garden is almost ready for harvest with “blushing tomatoes” and “cucumbers almost ready.” Some folks have posited that marigolds keep garden pests away. This garden is “bordered” by that plant.

Third Movement: Poetry Perusal

He wore Vincent on his t-shirt that day. They fondled poems
And listened for the voice that calls lovers to touch.

One of the two people populating the garden wears a replica of van Gogh’s The Starry Night. In the early 1960s, silk-screened T-shirts with favorite artists and other famous rabble were prevalent. They are perusing poems and apparently something in the poems leads them to begin touching.

Fourth Movement: Leaning Against a Painting

She leaned against The Starry Night.
Touched his face with the tips of her fingers.
The soft pressure of his lips controlled her tongue
And it believed the wet lie his tongue was telling.

The other person present in the poem leans into the Starry-Night wearer, offing little love-making gestures, touching of face, kissing lips. She then states that she believed the lies that tongue was telling. The lies are not disclosed, implying that this one scene is more important than any that may in future ensue.

Fifth Movement: The Metaphor of Seed

His seed took root in her soul:
Sprouting green thoughts.
The red of a kiss. The gold of fingertips
On skin. Gazing blue eyes.

The touching, kissing encourages the metaphor of orgasmic ejaculation, leading the speaker to liken whatever is happening between the two to the coupling of intercourse.

But instead of his “seed" rooting in the female physical receptacle, it takes “root in her soul.” And a host of colorful images is born: green thoughts, red kisses, golden fingertips, and “gazing blue eyes.”

Sixth Movement: A Painting Echoes in a Poem

While writing poems, she feels a power of color in her
She did not possess before the touching.

The speaker then summarizes with the paraphrasing echo from van Gogh: "While writing poems, she feels a power of color in her / She did not possess before the touching."

Painting and Poetry

The focus of the poem is on the comparison of painting to poetry creation. The poet's employment of the epigram of the Vincent van Gogh quotation is vital to the poem's purpose. Van Gogh reckoned that the act of painting awakened in him the "power of color," and the poet reckons the same about writing poems.

Note: A version of “Power of Color” appears in “The Vincent Poems” in my published collection titled Turtle Woman & Other Poems, available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Garden of Earthly Delights

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SRF Lake Shrine, Windmill Chapel

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Life Sketch of Linda Sue Grimes

The Windmill Chapel

In the temple of silence
By the lake, we sit
In stillness, meditating
In divine Bliss.

Returning to our daily minds,
We walk out into the sunshine,
And the flowers greet us.

The Literary Life

Born Linda Sue Richardson on January 7, 1946, to Bert and Helen Richardson in Richmond, Indiana, Linda Sue grew up about eight miles south of Richmond in a rustic setting near the Ohio border.

After graduating from Centerville Senior High School in Centerville, Indiana, in 1964, Linda Sue Grimes completed her baccalaureate degree with a major in German at Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, in 1967. She married Ronald Grimes on March 10, 1973.

As a writer, Grimes focuses on poetry, short fiction, politics, spirituality, and vegan/vegetarian cooking, which results in her original veggie recipes.

Literary Studies

Although music was her first love, Grimes considers herself primarily a literary specialist as she creates her own poetry, studies the poetry and literary arts of classic writers, and writes commentaries about classic poems.

However, Grimes does continue to express her love of music by writing her own original songs, which she records, accompanying herself on guitar or keyboard. She shares her musical compositions at SOUNDCLOUD.

After completing the PhD degree in British, American, and World Literature with a cognate in Rhetoric/Composition at Ball State University in 1987, Grimes taught English composition in the English Department at BSU as a contractual assistant professor from 1987 until 1999.

Publishing History

Grimes has published poems in many literary journals, including Sonoma Mandala, Rattle, and The Bellingham Review. She has published three books of poems: Singing in the Silence, Command Performance, and Turtle Woman & Other Poems, and a book of fables titled Jiggery-Jee's Eden Valley Stories.

Grimes published her first cookbook in the spring of 2013, titled The Rustic Veggie-Table: 100 Vegan Recipes. She is working on a second cookbook and her fourth book of poems.

Currently, at Owlcation, Grimes (Maya Shedd Temple) posts her poetry commentaries. On LetterPile, she shares her creative writing of poems and short fiction, along with prose commentaries on each piece. She posts recipes resulting from her experimental cooking of vegan/vegetarian dishes. on Delishably. She posts her politically focused pieces at Soapboxie, and her commentaries focusing on music at Spinditty. Pieces on the writing process appear at Hobbylark.

Spirituality

Linda Sue Grimes has been a devotee of Paramahansa Yogananda and a member of his organization, Self-Realization Fellowship, since 1978. A Kriyaban since 1979, she has completed the four Kriya Initiations, and she continues to study the teachings and practice the yoga techniques as taught by the great spiritual leader, who is considered to be the "Father of Yoga in the West."

Grimes practices the chants taught by the guru accompanying herself on the harmonium. She serves at her local SRF Meditation Group as one of the chant leaders.

Online Literary Presence

In addition to the contributions of her literary works to Owlcation, LetterPile, and SOUNDCLOUD, Grimes also curates her original creative literary pieces at her literary home, Maya Shedd Temple, on Medium, where she features her creative writing without commentaries. Grimes also maintains an additional online presence on Facebook and Twitter.

© 2016 Linda Sue Grimes

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