Monday, January 10, 2011

Poem: "What is White?"


I was recently re-united with a book from my youth, titled "Hailstones and Halibut Bones; Adventures in Color" by Mary O'Neill.



Here is the poem "What is White?"


What is White?

White is a dove
And lily of the valley
And a puddle of milk
Spilled in an alley---
A ship’s sail
A kite’s tail
a wedding veil
Hailstones and
Halibut bones
And some people’s
Telephones.
The hottest and most blinding light
Is white.
And breath is white
When you blow it out on a frosty night.
White is the shining absence of all color
Then absence is white
Out of touch
Out of sight.
White is marshmallow
And vanilla ice cream
And the part you can’t remember
In a dream.
White is the sound
Of a light foot walking
White is the beautiful
Broken lace
Of snowflakes falling
On your face.
You can smell white
In a country room
Toward the end of may
In the cherry bloom.

From: Hailstones and Halibut Bones (1961)Mary O’Neill
Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Company, Inc.

2 comments:

Celeste said...

Lisa, I love "Hailstones and Halibut Bones"! Another lovely book about colors is "White Is the Moon," by Valerie Greeley. Mike brought back a copy of that book when he visited England some years ago. It has beautifully evocative illustrations. The children liked the book well enough, but I just flipped over it. It's now living on my personal shelf of books, where the kids are not likely to get at it!

Lisa said...

Sorry Celeste, I didn't know you commented.

I think I've seen "White is the moon" before...I'll have to look it up again.

I didn't think anyone else had heard of it! That's so cool!