Barbara Simmons‘ poem: Colour Of The Year


There are those washed-out days, ones my mom would

call the days of looking drained, colourless, as washed out

as bleached linen, the aftermath of sleeplessness and sadness,

the palette minus primary colours. Those days would last

until someone or thing would snap me out of pallor, smudge

me with the breath of life that banished torpor, bade farewell

to loneliness, waved away anything faded, beckoning all

that vivid held. My soul felt blood run through it, my cheeks

pink with renewal.

That’s what this day felt like, the day I learned

viva magenta pigmented the news as colour of the year,

reminding me we need to find a hue reviving us, corralled within this time

and space accompanied by Covid, fears, and wars, our desiring tones

to take us out of ashen shades and into vibrancy.

Viva magenta baptises us with redness at its root,

primordial shade emboldening us, pulling us

from shadows, taking on a colour connected to our birth,

connected to our veins, connected to our flesh, one that says live,

and live more, and live more deeply.

One that, on my washed-out days, I’ll remember to bathe in,

swatches of the purpled red adorning how I clothe myself,

see myself, dancing away from dread and whirling

into possibilities like the sound this colour proclaims.


Barbara Simmons, a Bostonian and Californian, says both coasts inspire her. An alumna of Wellesley and Johns Hopkins’ Writing Seminars, and a retired educator, she savors life, envisions, celebrates, and understands with words. Some publications: Boston Accent, NewVerse News, Soul-Lit, Capsule Stories 2022: Swimming, and her book, Offertories: Exclamations and Disequilibriums.

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