Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Adding colour to my world

I had been a poet for many years when I was asked the question that floored me:  “Was the whole world in black and white when you were young?” and at first I thought my young son had cracked a joke but studying his upturned face, so earnest and without guile, I realised pretty smartly I had better treat this with the seriousness it deserved.

Upon probing gently, I discovered that what had prompted the question was the fact that all the pictures in the family photograph album taken before my daughter (10 years my son’s senior) was born were monochrome including our wedding photos.  Plus, it seemed we had referred to films we’d watched back in our youth which were also made in black and white.  Not so surprising then, that our youngest would consider the possibility that colour itself had not been invented prior to 1973, perhaps in tribute to our daughter’s emergence in the world.

How we laughed our socks off once the child was out of sight, but at the time, I said, “No, son. The grass was green, the sky was blue and while we certainly had a less colourful wardrobe of clothes here in drab old England, I do remember a few flashes of red and yellow among my well-worn dresses which had been handed down so many times most of the colour had been washed out before even I had set eyes on them.

That conversation prompted a poem of course.  As all poets will attest, almost everything in their lives become poems eventually, but that poem, Black and White World also came to mean more to me because it was the first one I’d written that made me realise I had potential as a writer. Moreover, it showed me how we all look at the world from different viewpoints, which is why there are infinite stories yet to be told. It was at that precise moment I also decided to write a novel.

Black and White World

Let us go back to the black and white world
And pretend it was better than now,
To our youth and beyond, to the poverty bond
We can visit if memories allow.
See the shoes on our feet stuffed with yesterday’s news

And our one suit of clothes, drab and drear.
With no jewels to bedeck, save the scum round the neck,
We had nothing -- and that includes fear.

See the obstinate chins and the diamond bright eyes
Face the black and white world with a dare.
We knew none could uncover, nor slyly discover,
Those secrets of our great despair.

See the place where we live -- (Was it ever in colour,
The paint ever glossy and new?) --
Where we hung by the feet in full view of the street
From a rail, with defiance as glue.

See the gutters which yielded a treasure-trove rare
Of ball-bearings and other such gems.
How we stooped, unaware of the seams we might tear,
In our dresses without any hems.

See the rosy-cheek children who looked down their noses,
Yet longed with green envy to play
With the black and white urchins so craftily searching
For some way to make the rich pay.

And we did -- you remember? -- we tapped every resource;
We understood nothing of shame.
We would blackmail or flatter; it didn’t much matter
So long as they couldn’t prove blame.

We were quick, we were slick and we didn’t mind danger
-- In fact, it enhanced all the thrills --
We took chances so lightly and squeezed through so tightly
You would think we expected some spills.

But we didn’t -- remember? -- we thought nothing of it,
Invincible down to the last.
Don’t you think it’s a pity that children so gritty
Should grow up and hide from the past?

I have since gone on to create very colourful new worlds in my 2 novels: The Eternal Question and Children of Hamelin and they are published by Amazon Kindle
I shall continue to do so in my next novel, a follow-up to The Eternal Question. 

Theresa Dawn has been creatively writing for more than 40 years and has concentrated in the main on poetry and lyrics, having accumulate quite a large body of work in those fields.
A few years ago, Theresa decided to devote a year or two to writing a novel which would satisfy the author in her. Children of Hamelin was the result and she went on to write Eternal Question which is also now published. Both stories could be classified as fantasy fiction but they focus on the human condition rather than on the normal magical side of fantasy.
Theresa has been married to Terry for more than 40 years and has 2 children and 2 grandchildren - so far. Her family have all been most supportive and she counts her blessings daily.
Known in both poetry and music circles simply as Dawn Sinclair, Theresa decided to use her full name as a novelist.


Patty Froese said...

gorgeous poem! I loved it!

Liz Flaherty said...

Oh, I love the poem! I don't have a poetic bone in my body (or maybe I should say a poetic line in my imagination) and am so envious of those who do.

Great post.

Lisa Lickel said...

This is so like the list every year of things only the new generation can understand. Out of the mouths...

Enjoyed your poetry, too.
Thanks for sharing.

Donna B said...

Great poem! Very nice job! And what a great question that prompted it!

tomynate said...

I love the innocence of children. This was a great post and a great poem.


Tom Blubaugh, Author
Night of the Cossack

TNeal said...

Oh, the days of black and white. That's how we saw the world through the television way back when. You've done a marvelous job of capturing in lyrical form the simple innocence of those days.

Jaxbee said...

Lovely! And I enjoyed reading about how the poem started, too. Very sweet!

Caroline said...

Loved the poem and your tho'ts!