What Colour?

What colour is a fallen leaf in the dark? I watched him measure
libations of water and sesame seeds, chanting under his

breath. It was Amavasya, the period of the dark moon, the time
for sacred rituals for the dead. The silver spoon trembled in his

wrinkled hand. How many times had he sat there at the appointed
hour, remembering grandpa, and great-grandpa who wasn’t even a

photograph, just a pixelated memory of a twirled moustache and
great coat, a man who had predicted that the British would not

last the summer. His son met my eyes from a row of framed pictures,
an almost frown, disapproving of my slouched incongruence. The oil

lamp spilt its liquid fire on brass bowls of vermillion and turmeric,
stark against his snow white hair. When had he aged so much? When

had the carmine and gamboge hues of his fleeing autumn become so
cold to my touch. What colour exactly is death in the morning?

50 thoughts on “What Colour?

  1. Beautiful. I’m sorry if I always say the same word about your poetry. But your words, like the words here, are so rich, so full of heart and wisdom. Your poems are so special. The last line here is indeed spectacular.

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  2. Moving, the ceremony, the old man , so descriptive and last line stunning. You just keep me busy translating as my english is not that advanced 🙂

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  3. It was Amavasya, the period of the dark moon, the time
    for sacred rituals for the dead…
    What color is death exactly in the morning?

    Oh my, I can feel the Halloween holiday in your poem here. That’s good I like scary once in a while.

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  4. a beautifully moving kinship ceremony – conjuring the lineage and meditating on the colours of life and death – I think this is one of my favourites of your poetry though it is hard to choose!

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  5. Tears, sweet one, as I pick up my life after the funeral of a dear dear friend who came into her autumn but not into her winter. I think you wrote this poem for me. I spent the week putting together the slide show for the gathering, and felt my own “slouched incongruence” throughout. What colour? All of them and none. Thank you.

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  6. I’ve enjoyed what your poem does for the senses. I especially love your use of turmeric, mostly because whenever the color is used I end up smelling the scent… and the other way around.

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