March 22, 2012
ODE ON THE COLOR GREEN
I love you, green, in all your varied hues!
You are paint squeezed on an artistís palette
from Hookerís green to hunter green,
viridian to verdigris, aqua, teal, eau-de-Nil,
sea-green, sap green, bottle green, and Phthalo.
You shimmer in Monetís lily pond reflections,
flash through Rousseauís lush jungle,
glimmer in emeralds, glow in my catís opal eyes.
You smell of spearmint, cedar, limes, turnip greens.
You are cool as a cucumber, crunchy as coleslaw,
tastier than fried green tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafť.
You are ripe avocados, open-smile pistachios,
Brussels sprouts and kiwi fruit, spinach for Popeye,
Bramley apples for Motherís pies, green eggs and ham
for Sam-I-am, and lettuce that tempted Peter Rabbit.
Youíre the theme of song and legend, Erinís Isle,
a roaring pair of bagpipes made of the green willow.
Green Grow the Rushes-o! How Green Was My Valley!
You are the green hill far away outside a city wall
that we sang about at school and church each Easter.
You tickle childrenís bare toes in summer meadows
and whisper through the fresh foliage of pin oaks.
You are greenery brought indoors to stave off winter,
O Tannenbaum, the spruce and fir of Christmas,
holly that stabs, ivy that clings to red brick walls,
yew trees planted in cemeteries for everlasting life.
You are Wimbledonís courts, croquet lawns,
a golf course fairway, smooth felt on a snooker table.
You are Englandís patchwork landscape and the woods
to Grandmotherís house. We leave home for greener
pastures, then yearn for the green, green grass of home.
Itís not easy being green. Kermit was right, for you
are mold on bread and cheese, moss and lichen on
forgotten tombstones. You are naÔve, seasick, bilious,
green-about-the-gills nausea, snot, a snake in the grass
and the green-eyed monster, envy. You are the color
of money, but the love of it is the root of all evil.
You are the wool dress I wore as a fledgling teacher,
Black Watch tartan trousers I bought from a catalog,
Sleeves on a lady serenaded by Henry the Eighth.
You are the garb of Robin Hood and his merrie men,
leprechauns, fairy folk, and crazy Americans who
dye the Chicago river green, who decide they are Irish
at least for one day and don't wish to be pinched.