Sunday, July 10, 2011


It has been too warm lately for me to want to work upstairs in my little studio.  I'm feeling too lazy to do anything much, except maybe take some photos, so yesterday I went looking for red things around here.  I like red.  It's hard to use in the house, even though it's is sometimes thought to be good luck, because it's so strong.  My favorite coffee cup is red, just like the one Greg House has on the television show.  I have red flowers, bee balm, impatiens, geraniums, planted to attract hummingbirds to the yard.  My favorite fountain pen is red, and we have an older red Cavalier convertible that we use in the summer. My front door is painted a sort of raspberry red, though the sun fades it so much that it turns lavender pink, and I have to give it a fresh coat.  In summer I have my toenails painted red, though I give it up in colder months when shoes and wooly socks make red toes irrelevant. I like using red when I paint, though I tend to warmer reds, earthy reds like Indian red or vermillion. I love the scent of rose madder genuine, but like the roses from which it is made, the pigment fades, so I rarely use it.  There is an interesting website about pigments which discusses the symbolism of red here.

A Sunday poem, featuring a red-breasted robin -

Morning Talk
By Roberta Hill Whiteman

        —for Melissa L. Whiteman

“Hi, guy,” said I to a robin  
perched on a pole in the middle  
of the garden. Pink and yellow  
firecracker zinnias, rough green  
leaves of broccoli,
and deep red tomatoes on dying stems  
frame his still presence.

“I’ve heard you’re not
THE REAL ROBIN. Bird watchers have  
agreed,” I said.”THE REAL ROBIN  
lives in England. They claim
your are misnamed and that we ought  
to call you ‘a red-breasted thrush’  
because you are

He fluffed up. “Am I not
Jis ko ko?” he cried, “that persistent  
warrior who carries warmth
northward every spring?”
He seemed so young, his red belly  
a bit light and his wings, still
faded brown. He watched me
untangling the hose to water squash.

“Look who’s talking!” he chirruped.  
“Your people didn’t come
from Europe or even India.  
The turtles say you’re a relative  
to red clay on this great island.”
Drops of crystal water  
sparkled on the squash.

“Indigenous!” he teased  
as he flew by.

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