Before my mother’s dementia, she wrote poetry. She kept a notebook and pen in her purse so she was always prepared to jot down new lines for poems no matter where she was.
She once told me that when she taught kindergarten, the introduction to poetry curriculum for five-year-olds said the teacher should point to a color and say, “What words rhyme with red?” (Then blue, green, yellow, brown, black, etc.) “But never point to the color orange,” the instructions warned. “It will only confuse them because no word rhymes with orange.”
Molly and I went to visit my mom/her grandma last weekend. We fed her bites of favorite food, told her family stories, sang along to Mom’s favorite children’s songs on Molly’s iPhone, and read poetry to her. Here, in tribute to Mom’s kindergarten poetry advice many years ago, is a poem by author Mary O’Neill that describes the color orange…without trying to find a word that rhymes with it.
WHAT IS ORANGE? By Mary O’Neill ~ Orange is a tiger lily, A carrot, A feather from a parrot. A flame, The wildest color You can name. Orange is a happy day, Saying good-bye In a sunset that That shocks the sky. Orange is brave Orange is bold It’s bittersweet And marigold Orange is zip Orange is dash The brightest stripe In a Roman sash. Orange is an orange, Also a mango. Orange is music of the tango. Orange is the fur Of the fiery fox, It’s The brightest crayon In the box. And in the fall, When the leaves are turning, Orange is the smell Of a bonfire burning…
THIS HALLOWEEN, and every day, STOP AND ENJOY THE ORANGE!