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12+ Violence

The Colour Red

by AlmostImmortal


Trigger warning! Mentions of blood, death, war, and bullets.

Red is the colour who cannot decide

It fights for love, longs for hate

It’s the bold colour on someone’s nails

And the dirty colour that stains a killer's hands

It’s the colour of swollen lips

And the mother of the colour they leave behind

Red is a beating heart

And what it chokes on as it fails

It’s the lipstick stains on a giddy person’s cheek

And the flush of shame when they leave you behind

It’s her laugh as you spin her on the dance floor

And it’s her scream as the bullet rips her flesh

It’s ravaged warzones with their scattered bones

And cheesy school dances filled with wide-eyed kids

Red is the memory his scars have

And the string that binds him to his husband

It’s messy kisses and quickened heartbeats

And it’s the print of their hand on your face

It’s desert sand, rust, and bloody battle cries

It’s first love, roses, and the dreams of that kind

Red is the womb that gives us life

And the blood that seeps from our fingers when we die.


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Mon Jun 28, 2021 12:48 am
Liminality wrote a review...



Hi there, AlmostImmortal!
The lovely personification and first line caught my eye with this poem. I thought the main structure here was the contrasts and contradictions between different things we associate with red, for instance joyful laughter and violence. Because of this, it seems the mood changes from line to line. The poetic voice here is pretty intense, almost declaring each line.

Subject, Themes, Narrative

The personified ‘red’ seems to be given a sort of portfolio throughout this poem. Through a series of contrasts, red almost seems to capture two different sides of the human experience. I say ‘human experience’ because ‘love’ and ‘hate’ I think are the two things people usually think about when they try to describe humanity, and I think it’s a pretty fitting thematic structure to go for in a poem such as this one. The two lists closer to the end of the poem seem to be the climax of the ‘story’, where the most extreme juxtaposition between war and romance is made. Then finally, circling back to blood, which links the poem’s theme to life and death.

Language and Imagery

There’s a lot of symbols associated with red being used in this, which is fitting for the subject of the poem. I noticed the “heart” and the red string of fate in particular, as well as roses. I wonder if there is a more death-themed red symbol that could have been used in the lines about war and violence, to sort of balance it out for a more even-handed contrast. Maybe poppy flowers?

I really liked some of the details you picked out in this poem. “bold colour on someone’s nails” is a nice and specific image for red and draws a nice parallel with blood on somebody’s hands.
There were some images I thought were a bit vague, or at least I could not picture them very well when reading:

It’s the colour of swollen lips
And the mother of the colour they leave behind


I’m not entirely sure what the ‘mother’ relation means? I would suppose the colour “left behind” might be something like a lip print, but it’s a bit hard to imagine the second colour that is implied to spring from red with just this description.

It’s ravaged warzones with their scattered bones
And cheesy school dances filled with wide-eyed kids


The second line was a bit difficult to picture as ‘one image’ for me. I could imagine a ‘cheesy school dance’ and ‘wide-eyed kids’ but perhaps there might need to be a bit of a link between those to make the images flow together? “filled with” is a bit static for dancing, in my opinion. Are the kids moving across the dance floor? Or are they actually standing still because the music hasn’t started yet? I guess I just got caught on the idea of the ‘dance’ so the next image was a bit hard to connect for me.

That being said, one of my favourite pairs of lines was:

It’s messy kisses and quickened heartbeats
And it’s the print of their hand on your face


It seems it might have a pretty dark implication – like a relationship gone wrong? – but I thought the second image was very impactful. The “print” of someone’s hand being red isn’t something super obvious and in-your-face, and the act of hinting or using an indirect detail seems to make the image stronger.

Structure and Sound

The speaker of this poem definitely feels distant from the subjects, a though a bird’s eye view or some storyteller in a tavern is narrating. Even with the first line “Red is the colour . . . “, while the present tense makes it feel immediate, the speaker is definitely not talking about themselves. If anything, they might be talking about the addressees, with “you” or maybe even a made-up character.

Throughout the poem, the way the contrasts are drawn is very regular. There’s always a declarative statement ‘It is/ It’s . . . “ followed by an image, especially noun phrases like “the colour of swollen lips” or “a beating heart”. In this way, it almost feels like a list poem.

The pattern is only broken in:
It’s desert sand, rust, and bloody battle cries
It’s first love, roses, and the dreams of that kind


In terms of the “It’s . . . “ structure, these two lines follow the rest of the poem, but the lists and use of caesurae change the rhythm. I read them with three dramatic pauses per line, which makes these two lines stand out and that’s why I think earlier I described them as being the climax of the poem.

That's all

Overall, this was a nice colour poem with links to a broader theme. I liked the poetic voice and the big-picture narrative stance you managed to take without skimping out too much on the little details. Feel free to ask me if anything I said here is unclear.
Hopefully you found these comments helpful - and keep writing!

Cheers,
-Lim
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Sat Jun 26, 2021 2:05 am
WinnyWriter wrote a review...



Hey, there! What a creative piece. I like how you've just jumped right in and explored your topic, expanding the idea of the color red to include so many thought-provoking images. One moment it signifies love and passion, and the next that passion is given to depictions of violence. To me, it feels like your main point is unpredictability, volatility. But looked at in another light, it could suggest that each person gets to decide what to do with the color red and what to make it mean in their own life by how they choose to use it.

Great job, and thanks for sharing your talent!






Poetry is free to your interpretation, just like each colour. I'm glad it spoke to you, though! Thanks for reading.



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Fri Jun 25, 2021 2:06 pm
MailicedeNamedy wrote a review...



Hi AlmostImmortal,

Mailice here with a short review! :D

I think you've taken an interesting idea and turned it into a great poem, creating a kind of scale that allows the reader to decide for themselves how they see the colour red. I like this contrast that you create and for every possible positive means, you create a kind of antidote.

I like that your examples come from many areas of society, underlining once again that red is omnipresent, on beautiful things like cherries as well as on bad things like tomatoes. :D

At the same time, I find that there is a certain repetition that is particularly noticeable in the main section and it comes from the fact that the poem lags a bit behind the rest of the text on these points. Mostly it's just single words (dance, stain) where you can certainly create different synonyms to make the lines more dynamic.

As written, I like your structure of this scale that you create. You go from one extreme to the other. You do it with two lines at a time. However, I think you could go further and arrange the individual lines/pairs of lines in such a way that you have an increase that builds up to an intensity in the reader as he reads, so that he has to decide between these points at the end. Here it seems more like a wave at the moment, an up and down of points that don't really create a transition when seen in the broad picture.

Some points that my eyes caught during reading:

Red is the colour who cannot decide
It fights for love, longs for hate

I like how you create a personification for the colour red at the beginning. This immediately raises the philosophical question of whether colours know which spectrum of light they are?

It’s the colour of swollen lips
And the mother of the colour they leave behind

I can imagine that you want to express here that one day one will leave the parental home and the mother will have red eyes because of all the crying because of the farewell. In contrast to the other lines, I found this one the most difficult to interpret, because I partly expected it to be about a murder.

It’s desert sand, rust, and bloody battle cries
It’s first love, roses, and the dreams of that kind

I like your interpretation here that the "desert sand" is seen as the remains of people once they are just bones and decaying.

Have fun writing!

Mailice.






Thank you so much for the review! Fun fact, I mentioned desert sand because, in Egyptian Mythology, desert sand and the colour red were heavily associated with the god Set. Set was the god of storms, chaos, and violence, most of which had their place in this poem.



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Fri Jun 25, 2021 4:23 am
KWN wrote a review...



Hello. I'm here to review your work of art today! And to get your work off of the green room

So first off I like how you start by having two different sides. Red is good and red is bad.
I feel like that is a good way to start with a poem like this. I also really like the fact that the whole poem is going back and forth it makes people think. The ending is also a good ending to a poem like this. all in all its a very good poem and i hope that you improve your works until you begin creating master pieces. :)






Thank you so much for the review! I appreciate the encouragement.



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Fri Jun 25, 2021 4:03 am
MayCupcake wrote a review...



Hey, AlmostImmortal!
Here's a review for you today and welcome to YWS!

Red is the colour who cannot decide

It fights for love, longs for hate


I love the personification in the first line! I don't think I've ever really thought about the duality of the color red before.

It’s the colour of swollen lips

And the mother of the colour they leave behind


Interesting choice of words here. I'm actually not really sure what you mean by "mother of the colour" though, but everywhere else I understand.

It’s the lipstick stains on a giddy person’s cheek

And the flush of shame when they leave you behind


I really liked this way of describing the duality. In a relationship, at first red symbolizes love, but at the end it's an aching distraught feeling.

Red is the womb that gives us life

And the blood that seeps from our fingers when we die.


This was a good ending to the poem! It shows that red brings forth life as well as death. I like that you ended on this note because it's one of the most basic concepts and inevitable compared to everything else in the poem.

Anyways, nice job with this poem! Take what you will from this and keep on writing! :D






Thank you for the review and the welcome! As for what I meant by mother of the colour, I meant pink since pink is derived from red. I hope that makes sense!



MayCupcake says...


You're welcome!
I had thought of pink, but wasn't really quite sure so thanks for the clarification!





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