Indigo: Poems Inspired by Color

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Blue or Purple? That is the question. When I sat down to write my poem inspired by indigo, I didn’t know where to start. Looking at a rainbow, can you clearly pull out the color indigo like you can red or green? I can’t even go to a Crayola crayon box to find the color unless I happen to own a 24 count box (or higher). Indigo had me flummoxed.

My wife found some interesting articles about indigo online, especially related to its darker history as a cash crop, but that’s not where I wanted to go. I had pieced together the first two stanzas, but didn’t know where the poem was heading. It felt far from complete.

Then I came across an article today by Baruch and Judy Taubes Sterman titled The Great Tekhelet Debate — Blue or Purple? It’s a fascinating quick-read from the perspective of ancient Israelites. As the article states, “TEKHELET [indigo] was God’s chosen color.” God’s chosen color. That changed everything. Rather than pine for the clarity of the more recognizable colors of the rainbow, I was enamored by the rich depth of this seemingly ambivalent color.

For me, it’s not about defining the proper ratio of blue to purple (one source suggests indigo is three parts blue, one part purple), or even clearly settling the exact tint of indigo. No. For me it’s a reminder of God’s divine fingerprint on each unique life and the thread that links deep unto deep – our heart to our Father’s.

Tekhelet

Vincent H. Anastasi - 2021

I am indigo,
that enigmatic hue
confounding classification,
ousted by brown and black
from the classic Crayola eight pack
in a quiet color coup.
Ambiguously more blue than violet,
yet uniquely my own,
I boast a Latinate lineage -
indigofera tinctoria:
tint of intuition,
rainbow's sixth strand
Isaac Newton approved.
Seemingly superfluous,
my scarcity inextricably links me
with power and wealth,
and all white dims
without my cooling presence.

Sometimes, however, I wish
I knew red's love and passion
or orange's warm flame,
the cautious wisdom of yellow
or green's teeming prosperity.
Mark me with blue's tranquility
or violet's royal benison
rather than linger in limbo
between purple and blue.

Yet I will not blush
nor be ashamed,
being God's chosen color.
Tie me like that one string
to the corner fringes
of life's rich garment,
memorial thread
resembling the sea and heavens
linked to God's holy throne.
Transform me
in the sun's ultraviolet rays
until the unseen's seen
and the drapes of this temple
and the clothes of this high priest
are dyed the color
of sky darkening toward evening
in the effulgent mystery of life.

Published by thedeepened

I am a lover of words - the way they sing together in neat or sprawling lines upon the page, conducted by the great wordsmiths of all time. The way a sudden turn of phrase or surprising combination of sounds resonates with the deep within me, causing pause: moments of reflection and appreciation that transcend the superficial babblings and paltry visions of the infantile. Here at the deepening ground, it is my intent to make time and space for the reflection, appreciation, and creative imaginings that sustain the human soul.

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