Letters of Life

Black

Of all the colours on the earth, the one I love and turn to the most is black.

1. You can put on black and then forget about it
2. Black makes you look thinner and better dressed without really trying
3. Black is calming
5. When getting a present, choose black
6. It hides dirt
7. Words, numbers, and music notations look best in black
8. Black helps you match everything in your life

What is Black?
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 smokestack
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 the 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 starlight
And lamplight would lack
Diamonds and fireflies
If they couldn’t lean against
Black . . .
~ Mary O’Neill, from her classic children’s poetry book, Hailstones and Halibut Bones, which has 12 poems celebrating each colour, including white.
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