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May 2010
When your creator took her crayon box
That day she thought to draw you all alive,
She found a certain green to sketch your locks,
Another green to show you grow, you thrive;
A green of richest thought unlimited,
A green to match the green of your creation,
A green to go, to boldly forge ahead,
A green for lands of peaceful meditation;
  The Greene King, standing proud with all his queens,
  Jack-in-the-green, surrounded by his trees;
  A thousand other shades of other greens;
  The greenness of the deepness of the seas;
And I, I fall and marvel at the light,
A million greens, like fireworks in the night.

That day she thought to draw you all alive
She drew your outline, sketched you, and refined
And shaped your eyes, that surely saw arrive
The laughing people in the frame behind,
The humans, dogs and kittens, trailing plants,
Who fill your background; all you love are here
Around you in the middle of the dance,
And as you watch, still more of them appear
  Beyond your face within the frame advancing
  Children and relatives and loves and friends
  Holding their merry hands in merry dancing
  Extending off beyond the picture's ends;
I know your other folk would say the same:
It's such an honour dancing in your frame.

She found a certain green to sketch your locks,
A deeper green, a perfect green attaining;
And now another from her crayon-stocks;
Refreshing and repeating what's remaining:
She bleaches it and tries another shade
Then leaves it for a while and grows it out,
Returns it to the colours that she made
Begins to work again, and turns about;
  And why this careful labour to provide you
  With perfect colours captured in your hair?
  She knows your colours mirror what's inside you,
  Eternal greens within you everywhere;
And still beneath, the ever-growing you
Shall dye, and yet shall live with life anew.

Another green to show you grow, you thrive;
Out from the snow the snowdrop breaks in flower.
Who could have called this sleeping bulb alive?
Yet buried patiently it waits its hour,
Counting the snowflakes slowly settling
Their weight upon the heavy earth above;
One day its Winter changes to its Spring.
Who can predict the power of life and love?
  Hope that at last the final frost is dead.
  Faith that the Winter dies and Spring shall rise.
  Love for the life that up through blades has bled.
  Joy to a hundred children's waiting eyes;
For every hour it slept beneath the ground,
A thousand wondering eyes shall gather round.

A green of richest thought unlimited.
I try to say I love you every day:
I know I keep repeating things I've said.
Perhaps I'll try to phrase another way:
Suppose I counted all the money ever
From now until when Abel risked his neck
With my accountants, who were very clever,
And wrote it on a record-breaking cheque...
  It wasn't half your empathising, was it?
  Your thoughts are treasured more than bank accounts;
  The bank won't put your loving on deposit.
  And could they take it, given such amounts?
The jealousy of cash makes misers blind,
And who needs money when you have your mind?

A green to match the green of your creation!
She took her time in sketching out your features,
Shading you well, and, drawn with dedication,
You took the pen she gives to all her creatures
And set about some drawing of your own,
Filling the art with arc and line and shade,
Showing your work the care that you were shown,
And making them as well as you were made;
  And much as life your drawing hand was giving,
  Another life from deep within you drew:
  A life, not merely likeness of the living,
  So separate, yet such a part of you:
Who finds your baby-picture on the shelf
And smiles and finds you, showing you yourself.

A green to go, to boldly forge ahead,
Should shine on traffic lights for every person.
If you should find a colour in its stead
That stops you-- not an arrow for diversion,
To Edmundsbury, Hatfield and the North,
Or any other place that's worth the going--
But rather reds that block your going forth;
If traffic signals freeze your days from flowing,
  Your life is green and you deserve the green.
  And if you try to go about your day
  And greens are coming few and far between,
  And reds and ambers blare about your way:
If so, I pray your days to hold instead
All green, and never amber, never red.

A green for lands of peaceful meditation.
You call: Come stand upon my sacred ground,
Come sit and breathe the peace of contemplation,
Come feel the grass beneath, the lilies round,
Come sleep, come wake, and drink the quiet waters,
Come to the maytree, blackbird, waterfall;
Come know yourselves the planet's sons and daughters.
The people pass and pause, and still you call:
  It's waiting for you when you ask to try it:
  Peace (and the air) cannot be bought or sold.
  You'll never gain it if you try to buy it:
  It's not an asset crumpled fists can hold.
All that you have is nothing you can lose;
You stand on sacred ground. Remove your shoes.

The Greene King, standing proud with all his queens,
Guarding a land of oaks and aches and cold.
It's not a normal place, by any means,
This island of the oldest of the old,
Where bow the ancient oak and ash and thorn
In homage to a figure on a hill;
Deep in the hills where Wayland Smith was born
You stand, an English body, English still.
  For odes and age and air and ale have filled you,
  Made you their own and promised you belong;
  And since their homesick longing hasn't killed you,
  I think you'll be returning to their song;
Come, take your time, and sit and drink with me!
What say you to another cup of tea?

Jack-in-the-green, surrounded by his trees,
Had given birth to leafy life aplenty,
He'd introduced his firs by fours and threes,
And sowed his seedling cedars by the twenty;
The field was filled with trunks and twigs and roots,
The soil was sound and fertile, and the fall
Would fill the forest floor with growing shoots,
And none but Jack was there to watch it all
  Until you came to wander through this field,
  To walk within the ways within the wood;
  Your mind was brought to peace, your spirit healed,
  The forest given form and blessed as good;
Jack-in-the-green will wonder all his days:
your presence never ceases to a maze.

A thousand other shades of other greens:
"Leaf", "emerald", "sea", "bottle", off the cuff;
"Viridian" (uncertain what it means),
But there's so many. Names are not enough.
Yet, in another life, your maker might
Have picked you out among primeval glades
To work as keeper of the rainbow's light
And in another Eden name the shades;
  If so, the planet's poets will rejoice
  That, given life together with a name,
  The colours sing a stronger, clearer voice,
  And every hue will never seem the same:
Each of the shades looks loving back to you,
Its namer and the one who made it new.

The greenness of the deepness of the seas:
A home to fish of many a scaly nation.
Follow the shoals; the smallest one of these
Swims as a fishy summit of creation.
Yet every one's indebted to the shoal,
All subtle in their difference from the rest:
A fish of friends, a member of the whole,
A mix of traits, a taking of the best.
  So you and those of us you love so well
  Will grow along with other friends' increase,
  Required ingredients in the living-spell:
  Each person brings a necessary peace.
The level-headed people mix with mystics,
And both are living mixtures of holistics.

And I, I fall and marvel at the light,
This changing light that grows throughout the years,
Extinguished not by hardship nor by night
Nor foolishness nor sadness nor by tears.
When we were separated by the sea
I wished myself amidst your myriad days.
My wish was mirrored in your missing me;
Your maker joined our wishes, joined our ways;
  She placed our hands on one another's heart,
  And you and I began a lifelong learning
  Of one another, like a magic art
  Whose telling grows with every page's turning,
And holds our friendship as a growing bond
Till seventy years old, and still beyond.

A million greens, like fireworks in the night.**
I fear this sonnet never can be done.
So many colours burst upon my sight
I cannot tell the tale of every one.
But I can tell how vast excitement fills me
When all the flying sparkles fill the sky;
I want to tell the world how much it thrills me
To hold you close, reflected in your eye;
  I want to tell in all my earthly days
  And yet beyond, of what you mean to me;
  I want to say I love the myriad ways
  Of what you are and what you'll grow to be;
These counts combining made the building-blocks
When your creator took her crayon box.
Written as a Valentine's present for and about my partner, Fin.

I recorded myself reading the poem at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=27EykqTr-w8 .
Written by
Thomas Thurman
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