Colours

Can I paint colours
for you
who are blind?
I will try.

Brown feels and smells
like moist earth
in spring
as you plant
tastes like chocolate
bitter-sweet
on your tongue.

Yellow warms
like sun
through your window
on cold winter days
is lemon meringue
the song
of a lark.

White is
the smell of your sheets
freshly washed
dried by the wind
the taste of cold milk
silence
when you are alone.

Red shouts like a trumpet
clangs like parades
tastes metallic like blood
when your finger is pricked
feels soft as rose petals
guarded by thorns.

Do my words help
or confuse?
Let me try more.

Green is the soft
tickle of grass
on your pavement-tired feet
secrets whispered
by leaves
the smell of the rain
the taste of new apples.

Orange crackles with flames
fallen leaves as you walk
smells of wood burning
tastes of pumpkins
carrots and squash
is the wild honk of geese
flying south.

Blue calls
like loons
train whistles at night
feels like your jeans
worn thin at the knees
yearns
like your dreams.

Purple holds
the sweet scent of lilacs
the taste of plum jam
your memories of past love
is the time
between sunshine
and sleep.

Please teach me
about black.

~ Linda Smith, 1949 – 2007

This week Alberta lost a talented writer, a dedicated librarian, a tireless activist – and I lost a friend. Linda was perhaps the most generous person I have known: she was always willing to give of herself, whether it be to encourage a fledgling writer or to help a refugee family settle in Canada. It seems only fitting to share one of her poems here, as a tribute to the beauty Linda saw in our world and her unending optimism.

Linda delighted in telling stories, whether to a captivated audience of preschoolers or through her writing. She is best known for her writing for youth and children. Her compelling Freyan Trilogy – Wind Shifter (1995), Sea Change (1999), and Turning Time (2001) – was followed up with The Tales of Three Lands Trilogy – The Minstrel’s Daughter (2004), Talisa’s Song (2005), and her most recent novel, Weathermage (2006). She is also the author of a picture book, Sir Cassie to the Rescue, and a novel for beginning readers, Kelly’s Cabin. Her short stories and poems have been broadcast on CBC radio and have appeared in numerous publications.

As a long time resident of Grande Prairie, Linda was an active member of her community, serving on the board of the Children’s Literature Roundtable, as well as the outreach and refugee committees of her church. She was passionate about social issues and was an integral part of the local KAIROS organization in addition to running as the New Democrat candidate for the Smoky/Peace riding in the 1997 provincial election. She was also a founding organizer of the Wordspinner Literary Festival, which has become a biannual event in Grande Prairie.

For more information about Linda’s books and writing, please visit www.lindasmith.ca.

An article about Linda’s life is located at
http://cgi.bowesonline.com/pedro.php?id=1&x=story&xid=334247

2 Responses to “Colours”

  1. Tragic lost of one so talented. This was a wonderful poem.

  2. awsome poem um ya I didnt quite get your name sorry. Anyway black is related to hatred, bad dreams and broken love I hope that helps you out. Sincerly Gursheen

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