Portals of Color

26 Aug

Mary Oliver best explains the job of the poet in her poem “The Summer Day.” She writes, “I don’t know exactly what a prayer is. I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass, how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields, which is what I have been doing all day.”

As I write this, I have eight tabs open on my web browser. I understand all too well the impossibility of undivided attention. But I am grateful to Badgerdog and to the talented writers in my workshop at the Austin International School this summer for honoring the art of paying attention. The poems that follow are meditations on color. And the descriptions are so vivid and imaginative, so specific, that it’s clear they come from the minds of writers who are watching the world closely and with great care.

Cory MacPherson
Badgerdog Teaching Artist



The calm, turquoise color
sneaks and hides.
In the ocean, it turns to sea green.
It accompanies the fish,
making their scales glow.
It hides in the turtles’ shells.
It shelters in the coral.

Small robin’s eggs,
covered in this beautiful blue.
Under the trees, the robin’s tree,
is the pond and the river,
holding shades of turquoise
in the water.
December’s birthstone
is colored this peaceful color,

Angie Hu


Purple, My Color

Purple is my color.
In my dreams,
buildings are purple,
people are purple,
the sky is purple.

Royal purple,
perpetual purple,
pale purple,
deep purple.

Purple blooms.
It shines in a flower,
glows from a lamp.
It spreads from the carpet
to the walls.

Purple is my color.

Amber Xiao


Pop Tart Orange-Palooza

A jetpack across the sky
steps like an orange baby
and, there and there, a trespasser
shows like a big restless budge.
Small planes full of orange bananas
are moored against the bright sun
and, like an orange piece of paper,
the thin air hangs along the border.
The orange light begins to fade
and shutter from the magic elks
and at me shines the pale yellow Thames,
lies like air of deserted Christmas
for the one and all orange.

Adrian Rincon


Whatever Color Symphony

A great, red shrimp in the ocean,
darting around the murky water.
A school of red fish swim by,
not daring to go any closer.

Dark blood oozes out of the soldier’s wound,
seeping across his ashen skin like the tears dripping down his face,
as cries of red rage and fury erupt around him.
There is nothing else to do but wait in the pool.

As the red maple leaves fall in the fall,
they drift and drape over the city like pity.
It gives the pace a more mature feel,
but also can be childish, like the colorful leaf piles children make.

Maxim Gao


Dark Purple Symphony

Dark purple is a color of mystery
It is a color of books I read
It has a trail of fate through history
It reminds me of freshly picked grapes
Or the color of a stain on someone’s cape
Dark purple leaves a trail of doubt
On an acai berry bush that is just a sprout
It is the beauty of a purple flower
Or the amount of blueberries eaten in one hour
Dark purple can be a marker in a box
It can be the color of fleece-knitted socks
Dark purple is an occasional color of the setting sun
It can be a color on a map of a journal just begun

Manav Lund


Whipped Mint

Whipped mint is a shade of blue
But it is also green
The extra to your birthday cake
The scent of minty gum
The glossy surface to your bedroom wall
The color of the Seven Seas
A delicious lollipop, lemon, and blueberry
The cloudless sky
The break of dawn
The careful color
Painting the world with hope and happiness
When you look out the window
The minty fog comes
The music flowing
The world blossoming

Kevin Han


Green Composition

Clovers bloom in various shapes
St. Patrick must have loved these clovers
The leprechaun was a friend of Patrick’s
And the gold lets the leprechaun

Shadowy jade gleaming in light
Why is green so bright
Green is a sensation needed to feel
Clovers like this most likely congeal

Swimming in lakes makes you look green
There are beans that are called green beans
If you look outside the leaves will glow
And if you’re a master you can make a bow

Down on the ground you’ll see some green grass
Up in the treetops you’ll see some macaws
Sometimes in galleries you’ll see green glass
I hope you will all see the color green

Trevor Yu



They look like coconut
groves. The green matches
the swamp grass
like the color. They both look
identical. Maybe there
is a slight difference in the colors.
But the names don’t
match their colors because
coconuts are a lighter
green color. I don’t
get why they added “grove.”
Maybe to make it darker.
Swamp grass matches its name
really well because swamps
are mostly filled with sea plants.

Samee Kamal


Blue Symphony

In a clear blue sky, there isn’t a cloud to be seen,
so the blue dolphins frolics in the waves
and a blue-furred cat stalks a mat.
A big, blue butterfly flutters onto my nose.
And I sneeze.
The new girl walks to school, a blue ribbon in her hair,
wearing a blue bracelet.
At school, we each get a blue pencil
and we study the blue oceans on the map.
On picture day, we take lots of photos
with a blue background.
Today I left my water bottle on the playground.
Help me find it; it’s blue.
And I’m writing on the blue
lines of this notebook.

Jessamine Qu



Like a whale in the sea,
blue is like the big blue
sky we see every day.
The blue crayon you color your life with,
the clear blue water disturbed
by boats racing across it,
like the blue sparkles in the
make-up of dancers.
The blue-gray dolphin splashing happily,
like pen ink creating magical blue words,
like a mohawk of a blue jay.

Isabella Clark


Red Symphony

A beautiful red Porsche on the highway
A bright red glow from the sun
The beauty of a sunset
Red lava bubbling up in caves
The red lizard blending in with the leaves
The beautiful red things are musical

Liam McDonald


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