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Original Poem: "Power of Color" with Commentary

Updated on October 8, 2017
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Poetry became my passion, after I fell in love with Walter de la Mare's "Silver" in Mrs. Edna Pickett's sophomore English class, circa 1962.

Der Maler im Garten


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



Painting and poetry rely on similar materials. One is color. As a famous painter has averred, his power of color came through painting. A poet might reckon the same.

Linda Sue Grimes' "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 resourses to assert their dominance over inertia to produce a new product in the natural order.

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: "They talked in a fresh wash of sunshine"
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: "Blushing tomatoes, cucumbers almost ready"
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: "He wore Vincent on hist-shirt that day. They fondled poems"
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: "She leaned against The Starry Night
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: "His seed took root in her soul”
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: "While writing poems, she feels a power of color in her”
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."

Final Comment
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.

Garden of Earthly Delights


© 2016 Linda Sue Grimes


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