I think of all the books I haven’t read.
A listing would amount to quite a range
of subject matter: how to do niello,
how to make my residence more green,
a thousand antidotes for feeling blue,
how to cultivate the African violet;
and then of course pornography, so vile it
comes with photographs both infra-red
and infra dig—the books once known as blue,
and there were laws which put them all in storage;
and also books that turn the reader green,
whose devotees invariably yell, “O
give me movies! I am Curious (Yellow),
actioners whose plots are ultraviolent
with blood and gore and vomit and gangrene,
horror flicks that ratchet up the dread,
thrillers where the code begins at orange,
and blockbusters with all their hullaballoo.”
Today I stick to cookbooks—Cordon bleu,
Norwegian recipes for yam and Yell-o,
French poultry: coq au vin, duck à l’orange;
plums, aubergines, and other food that’s violet,
whole grain, rye, and other kinds of bread,
salads with everything that’s leafy green—
and bird books: How to spot a peregrine
falcon, nesting habits of the blue-
faced booby, Townsend’s solitaire, the red-
eyed vireo, the whippoorwill, the yellow
warbler. It would doubtless violate
the rules to dye my pet canary orange.
And now we’ll have a cup of tea. There’s orange
pekoe and Earl Grey, Irish breakfast, green,
herbal (but not, I fear, tisane of violet).
Ah, tea in childhood, when the east wind blew
in fall, and gingko leaves were turning yellow,
oak leaves brown, and maple fiery red!
And as a child I read in yellowed pages
violent tales of sheriffs in a rage,
and men in Lincoln green who blew their horns.
Esther Greenleaf Murer lives in Philadelphia. Her poems have appeared in numerous ezines; she was featured poet in the February 2010 issue of The Centrifugal Eye. She published her first collection, Unglobed Fruit, in 2011. Visit her blog .