the color of water

My eyes express the color of water,
Borrowed from sky and surface light, masking
What is simple and set to a shifting
Dance of shade, nothing fixed, but much broader
Than any definition that’s offered.
Truth changes, though I won’t call it lying,
Just a change of key, tuned to who’s asking;
I am mutable, but no imposter.

I am mercurial, my substance one
Driving hatters mad, messenger of  gods,
A trail burned and arced  just past vision
Sparks my words’ winged, feathered flight to the sun
In migration, one thousand pleated swans
Flying color, less shade and more motion.

A Miltonian sonnet, rough as hell and full of slant rhymes, but I do believe I have the scheme down, if nothing else.

About Susan L Daniels

I am a firm believer that politics are personal, that faith is expressed through action, and that life is something that must be loved and lived authentically--or why bother with any of it?
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68 Responses to the color of water

  1. Oh, you clever thing … I must try one of these, bit of a tussle, I’d think (?)

  2. unfetteredbs says:

    I really like this Susan. Such strong movement — drive hatters mad. You created such a rippling image in my head– am I making sense?

  3. davidtrudel says:

    This is so good. Really.

    • Aw David, thank you! Sending you a hug across the continent. Sonnets give me hives–something about the constricted form does give rise to interesting images, though.

  4. Poetic Soul says:

    This is one of the pieces you read and find yourself inspired to follow in your talented footsteps

  5. purple says:

    I found much to enjoy and like in this. I only know of three sonnet forms, English, Spenserian, and Petrarchan, so I am dissecting this to learn form and rhyme scheme as well. Thanks for sharing Susan.

  6. j4n says:

    more to admire the motility of language, tip of too, to you.

  7. This works Susan — That’s what matters.
    I like rough slant work… 😉

    • Thanks, Johnny. Winking back at you. I should have thought about how little would work that rhymes with water all the way, but I had to use it–one of my favorite Nin quotes.

  8. jeglatter says:

    🙂 well worth the toil I think. 🙂 A beautiful study!

  9. claudia says:

    less shade and more motion…very cool…the color of water…in berne the water in the river aare is just emerald green…so beautiful…love how water adapts to all the different shades with such fluency…i bet your eyes do as well

  10. George Ellington says:

    Oh, you have more than just the scheme, Susan–you have a stunning voice. And very well expressed here, your thoughts, your moods, your mutability. Change is, after all, the only constant in life.

  11. Those pleated swans.. gotta love them 🙂 great work

  12. Very impressive! I loved it just for its words before the structure appeared!

  13. RL King says:

    Well done..I find sonnet rather tricky too. Hard to maintain personal voice within the sonnet, but I think, you executed lovely as always.

  14. brian miller says:

    Truth changes, though I won’t call it lying,
    Just a change of key, tuned to who’s asking

    very cool lines and say much…love the layering in this as well, all the movement, the liquidity, water in the eyes and mercurial…it really all builds well to a beautiful sonnet…

  15. I specially like the last line, Fly a color, less a shade ~ Good one Susan ~


  16. Love the mix of physical with mental colours… shaping quite a powerful persona!

  17. aprille says:

    I thought slant rhymes were what’s wanted.

  18. nico says:

    Maybe you struggled to write this, but it is no problem at all for the reader! Great lines, great thoughts about the subjectivity of truth, and of the self–a real pleasure, nicely done!

  19. Rowan Taw says:

    The color of water really captures the ambiguity of life. This is so creative and thought provoking. Your labour paid off, so well.

  20. Beth Winter says:

    Love the color of water. This is a stunning response to the form challenge. Wow

  21. marousia says:

    Nicely done! I love the colour of water too!

  22. I think you got that lovely rhythm in this which I love with great sonnets… that I think is the hardest thing to get with these forms…well it is for me anyway… and I just love the whole thing the colour of water, flash of comets…you have some wonderful lines in this…great stuff!

  23. Water, life blood of the planet. I love the line:

    “Is my words’ winged, feathered flight to the sun”


  24. “My eyes express the color of water”… You had me at that wonderful first line – one I wish I’d written! – and from then on, it was a wonderful cascade of metaphor, all the way to your “thousand pleated swans”. (And did I ever tell you I love, love, love slant rhymes?)

    • Sam, thank you! This was a tribute to Anais Nin (try nailing HER down to anything fixed–hers is the persona of the poem). The opening line is a variation of a quote of hers from “House of Incest.”

      “My first vision of earth was water veiled. I am of the race of men and women who see all things through this curtain of sea, and my eyes are the color of water.”

      Now those are some lines I wish I had written…

      • Ah yes, but you see, the brilliance of your phrasing is that I caught your interpretation “express” as both the *expressiveness* of the eyes and *expressing* tears (e.g. referencing the verb as used in “expressing breast milk”.)

        So your simple turn of phrase, possibly intuitive – though having its origins in that remarkable paragraph by Anais Nin – gives the “color of water” an added subtlety of shade.

        • Oh Sam, thank you. Yes, when I was mulling over her original phrase, I intuited “express” and then really liked the added meaning that gave–so glad you caught that. Means a lot to me that you like this!

  25. nelle says:

    I’ll leave such to you, I just read the words and look for meaning. 🙂

  26. L says:

    Adore your opening line.

  27. yeoldefoole says:

    “drives hatters mad” – now how in the hell am I going to get THAT marvelous turn of phrase out of my head?!


  28. kkkkaty1 says:

    Exemplary work…your voice is clearly inspiring and separate from Nin’s..I’m a fan..

  29. Akila says:

    wonderful….trying to be crystal clear like water itself….an atempt, perhaps, to be atleast a bit close to it…..loved the rhymes…have a bit problem is understanding the slangs….loved it, nevertheless!

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