Thursday, February 23, 2012

"What is Black" from "Hailstones and Halbut Bones"

From Hailstones and Halbut Bones "What is Black"
Poem by Mary O'Neill
Illustrations by Leonard Weisgard.
Published by Doubleday & Company 1961


Black is the night
When there isn’t a star
And you can’t tell by looking
Where you are.
Black is a pail of paving tar.
Black is jet
And things you’d like to forget.
Black is a cat,
A leopard, a raven,
A high silk hat.
The sound of Black is
“Boom! Boom! Boom!”
Echoing in
An empty room.

Black is kind—



It covers up
The run-down street,
The broken cup.
Black is charcoal
And patio grill,
The soot spots on
The window sill.
Black is a feeling
Hard to explain
Like suffering but
Without pain.
Black is licorice
And patent leather shoes
Black is the print
In the news.
Black is beauty
In its deepest form,
The darkest cloud
In a thunderstorm.
Think of what lamplight would lack
Diamonds and fireflies
If they couldn’t lean against
Black…



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