the color of life

“Tell me your color of life, and I will tell you who you are. But that isn’t the point, not really. The point is for you to know who you are. The point is, once again, to stretch language.” — Beth Kephart, Handling the Truth

The color of life is
the glow of a
summer sunrise as
scarlet turns to silver.

The day
Possibility radiates.
Whimsy waits.

Small moments
turn into the 
big matters.

If I collect enough
mundane moments,
will my life glow, too?

A note about my process —

This prompt was another challenge from Handling the Truth. You read the first few lines of Gerald Stern’s poem “Eggshell” and then you ask, “What is the color of life?”

I started writing in prose, as I always do. I was surprised to find a poem waiting to break out. Instead of fighting with it — because I like to tell myself I don’t write poetry very well, and certainly not well enough to share outside of classroom walls — I let this poem crawl out.

I’m so glad I did, because I’m not sure I would have gotten to the real point fo the writing  — to know who I am and to stretch language.


I’m joining an open community of writers over at Sharing Our Stories: Magic in a Blog. If you write (or want to write) just for the magic of it, consider this your invitation to join us. #sosmagic

Let's Be Email Pals!

Teaching writers doesn't have to drown us.

Enter your information to receive my free eBook, plus weekly tips and encouragement for teaching writers.

Don't worry, I won't send you spam, and you can unsubscribe any time. (I'd hate to see you go, though.) Powered by ConvertKit


  1. Let’s just establish one thing – you do write poetry and you do it well. I loved how this poem took me in and let me be a part of your world. The line breaks created the pause needed. This could not be written as prose. I’m so glad you let the poet out. She needs to come out and play more often. 🙂

  2. I need to get Handling the Truth. That last stanza–what a punch. I’m going to be thinking about that one for a while.

  3. “…let the poem crawl out.”
    “…to stretch language.”

    You have such a wonderful way with words. I can almost feel the fun you have with them, like you are all playmates frolicking together!

  4. I agree with Elsie,
    You DO write poetry… you write poetry and prose and you put it out there for us. I am happy to be writing with you once again…

    The color of life is
    the glow of a
    summer sunrise as
    scarlet turns to silver.

    Just one thing… for some reason I don’t think I’m getting a weekly email from you, I just arrive here on Thursday with a post written but I’m not sure when you are suggesting something…
    Do I have to subscribe?

  5. Love this, Ruth – especially the line – whimsy waits. I think we need MUCH MORE whimsy in the world! Whimsy and fragrant cake batter in a grandma’s antique mixing bowl!

  6. Beautiful. I am so glad you allowed the poem to emerge. the following rings in my ears the most:

    Small moments
    turn into the
    big matters.

    I like the idea of sharing both the poem and your process.

  7. What a delight to read your words this morning and think about you sitting outside watching the summer sun rise. Here’s my favorite stanza:
    “The day
    Possibility radiates.
    Whimsy waits.”
    Maybe because I love the possibility that comes as each new day breaks, maybe because I’m a morning person, maybe because I love the idea of possibility and whimsy holding hands as the new day begins.
    I’m so glad you let this poem crawl out!

  8. Interesting question – what’s the color of (my) life?
    I am so gald that you let this poem “crawl out.”
    These lines spoke to me:

    small moments
    turn into
    big matters

    You have tuaght me so much about celebrating small moments in all aspects of my life. And I am so thankful!

  9. I love this!

    I especially like …

    The day breaks.
    Possibility radiates.
    Whimsy waits.

    Thanks for sharing your process and product, Ruth!