SageGreenJournal.org voices out of the West, mostly poetry, personal to planetary...
Erin lives in Louisville, Colorado and writes in the quiet dark hours when the house goes to sleep. She was selected for a 2017 Writer-to- Writer Mentorship through the Association of Writers & Writing Programs, and was a guest of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at Koyukuk National Wildlife Refuge near Galena, Alaska, through the 2017 Voices of the Wilderness Artist in Residence program. Erin received a first place and an honorable mention in the 2016 Michael Adams Poetry Prize, and her poems have been performed as choral works by Ars Nova Singers. You can read more of her work in the anthology MycoEpithalamia: Mushroom Wedding Poems, in FUNGI Magazine, and on her website: erinrobertson.org
In the beginning there was dark only and light
kyaneos and glaukos;
Homer hadn’t a word for the blue sky or Aegean Sea.
The rainbow came slowly:
and, only sometimes, on to blue.
Color is cultural, my translator friend explains -
robin’s egg blue’s as unknown to Germans
as angel blue is meaningless here.
In Namibia, the Himba cannot see
a blue square among green;
and though I stare a long time,
I find no difference in the one green
that leaps out at them from a field of sameness.
In Vietnam, the leaves and their backdrop of sky
are tinted the same: xanh.
The words we say shape the colors we see.
But blue, having entered your life,
until you would do the unthinkable:
find yourself deep in the Sar-i-Sang mine of Badakshan, grinding rocks
of lapis lazuli
or paint yourself with Egyptian blue like Amun til you can fly,
imperceptible, cloaked in sky
or stud your canvas with tiny shards of pulverized cobalt glass: smalt
or pay more than gold for the blue from the other side of the sea:
or ferment the dayflower, or indigo, or turnsole, or
woad, a common mustard:
First, you must drink for days,
store up a vat of alcoholic piss,
soak the leaves there for a solid week of hot stench,
add the fabric, soak longer in the sun til all is rank,
with still no hint of blue.
On faith you pull the cloth out,
the rainbow flashing instantly through the weft:
In Italy only the tintori di guado had license to dye a blue bolt,
but you and I may conjure any blue we choose:
royal baby sky navy cerulean turquoise midnight bruise Prussian delphinium gentian kingfisher forget-me-not pool mandrill shadow hyacinth penstemon glacier iris siren jay gorgonzola starlight Mediterranean iridescent hydrangea budgerigar aster juniper curaçao flax lightning vein
deeper and deeper we sink
into this crushed velvet dream of
counting ourselves lucky
to see them and name them at all,
like everything else that is.
SageGreenJournal.org is a non-commercial project, an online anthology, to share a poetic vision of the land we love.
We have no permanent office although we do have deep roots in Colorado.
You can write us at Box 160 Norwood CO 81423, or better yet, email us, by clicking
or, if you use a webmail system, write to hello (at) sagegreenjournal.org