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Thursday, 8 March 2007

'I See Red'*

* The title of a song by Split Enz

Thanks to beachcomberaustralia at flickr for this photo

As Elaine from Poetry Thursday suggested, I looked out for the colour red today and noticed it was everywhere - usually in small spots. Lights, signs, geraniums, tomatoes, autumn leaves, in M's latest paintings (and the colour of his dog Jedi's dog-collar.) Even the spaceship in the book I'm reading at the moment is red.

ABM's father is an artist and he says every painting should contain the colour red somewhere because the eyes like to see a bit of red.

I wrote this poem about four years ago now. It hasn't made the cut for my new collection and I don't really know what to do with it. But I like it and I keep it in my Poetry Stack in honour of the memory of receiving at seven years old a shoulder purse for my birthday (or I'm thinking now maybe it was a First Communion present.) I was in love with that purse. (I wonder what eventually happened to it?) I loved the smell of it. I wanted to eat it, it looked so tantalising.
I haven't owned a red hand-bag since - the one I've got at the moment is brown leather and I don't feel like eating it.



A birthday present, it went with me

I ask my parents,
“When I go to heaven can I take it with me?”

this plastic shoulder-purse, as shiny as red
as a ruby rosary; as my auntie’s lipstick;

was for me forever after, the ultimate;
it was as far as the colour red goes.


Brian said...

Just wanted to let you know, that your link at PT doesn't work. Also, to get your name in blue, you have to fill in your blog URL.

I like this poem, it's so innocent and fresh. The bright red is so vivid in my mind. :)

DewyKnickers said...

Red is everywhere. I do enjoy your memories of a prized red purse. It's a hopeful poem.



Crafty Green Poet said...

This is so evocative, I had a prized bag like that when I was a child.

Kamsin said...

Lovely poem, really gets a sense of your child-like love of the purse.

Tammy said...

This was so sweet and I could see your inner child's spirit in these words :)

lampad said...

I could eat this post!
delicious picture, story & poem.

gautami tripathy said...

So sweet. I wanted to go back to being a child.

Lovely picture..

Emily said...

I could SO picture this purse. I really liked this one perfect image. Fantastic last line.

Shameless said...

oh, yes, paint the town red! lovely.

Colorful Prose said...

How true! Like patent leather shoes, you just can't get any redder.

herhimnbryn said...

Eat it? Oh, I understand this cb. My first bag was white and I saved up for it forever!

Your evocative poem took me back 37 years in an instant. I was back walking into the shop, clutching the saved pocket money in my hand and hoping, oh hoping that the bag had not been sold.

January said...

Great poem, CB. Wish I had a purse like that. Maybe I should get one!

Remiman said...

(I'm getting a 404 error from your PT link).
This is one of those, what i call, precious memories poems. It just fills you with so much well being.
I agree with you f-i-l, a little red in every picture. I'll try to remember that.

Catherine said...

That sounds like a lovely memory to have. Do you know when your book is coming out?

paris parfait said...

Ooh, your purse reminds me of a pair of red patent leather shoes I had as a child. The poem is a throwback to a care-free time of innocence; really lovely.

Rethabile said...

I read this poem at work earlier today, an was covered in frustration as I couldn't comment. Damn corporate filters.

This poem is earnest and honest, and I guess it's the voice that does it. A child is talking. And it's not the subject that says it's a child, it's the child taking to his/mother that says it. Very nice.

Becky said...

That poem summarizes, epitomizes, and actually IS red.

Well done, CB.


Dana said...

I guess you need another book of poems that this poem fits in. Or a chapbook of poetry about handbags! And, since I am giving out the advice, why not get a red handbag now? You clearly don't love the brown one, and you totally deserve it!

chiefbiscuit said...

brian - Ah! I see ... Thanks for help and nice comments.

Rose - Thanks. I'm pleased it's got hope = hope is one of my fav things.

crafty green poet - You too huh? :)

kamsin - Thanks - that's just what I wanted to achieve.

tammy - Probably still there too if I search deep enough.

lampad - Ha! Thanks.

gt - Thanks so much. Don't we all?

emily - Thanks - appreciated.

shameless - I'm sure that came later - in mild doses!

cp -Oooh ... red shoes ... mmmm!

herhimnbryn - I'm so glad you can identify! ;)

january - You should! So should I!

rel - I have put the link in again farther down. Yes the red in every picture is a good one.

catherine - Not officially yet - will let you know as soon as ...

pp - Red seems to do that!

rethabile - Gee thanks ret. I'm glad you could identify - gender doesn't matter a mite! That makes me smile.

becky - That is poetry in a comment right there Becks!

dana - Oh but I do love my brown bag - homely and rugged and sturdy and roomy and bought by ABM. It has got my whole world in it! (But I may invest in a red one for special times! Good idea - thanks Dana.) And good advice re the chapbook etc too. I love getting good advice. :)

leonie said...

i have a red handbag. and red shoes. it's my fave colour. great poem!

apprentice said...

Wonderful how childhood allows a simple thing to become a talisman.

Roll on the geranium season, I can smell those plush leaves.

Regina Clare Jane said...

Yes, I liked this very much, too. We all had something as a child that we loved so much we wanted to keep it with us forever...
"it was as far as the colour red goes."- I loved this line...

Maya said...

My phone is red, I've got lovely red shoes, my friend gave me a great set of red-toned pillows....I love red! Now I want a red purse!

chiefbiscuit said...

leonie- Maybe we should start up a red fan club!

apprentice - Mmmm geraniums - one of my definite favs! I love the smell of their leaves too.

reggie - thanks!

maya - Go get one! Now!

Carole said...

You have reminded me of a lovely purse that my favourite aunt brought back from India. it is predominantly red and I keep it in a box with other 'treasures'.

chiefbiscuit said...

carole - Isn't it nice to remember something you didn't realise you'd forgotten? Like finding something precious.

Sabine said...

Split Enz... I love them. They were one of my brother's favourite bands when we were young and I listened to them a lot. The Finn brothers have amazing talent and I saw them live in concert a couple of years ago.


Jan said...

Wonderful, CB. Thankyou for the vividness of your writing AND picture..

Jan said...

Wonderful, CB. Thankyou for the vividness of your writing AND picture..

Jules said...


Great poem. I had a purse that I felt similarly about and have wondered where it ended up. Perhaps my mother did what I've done and "accidentally" left it behind when the movers packed things up.

Mary said...

I really liked the part where you asked your parents about taking it to heaven. The red really pops out with your words.

chiefbiscuit said...

jan - Thank you - hope you're feeling better soon.

jules - I guess we can't hold on to everything and we don't relly know what we will miss the most until we do!

mary - Thanks for dropping in - and for your kind comments.

gel said...

Ah, sweet memories. Liked this a lot. You have a terrific way of capturing our interest from your introductions.


'how this all harbours light'