what is color?

Red Roofs, Marc Chagall, 1954

what is color?

above freedom, beyond imagination
higher than any abstraction
lies life’s interrogations

childlike sensibility
refined imagination
temperamental undertones

yearning, loss and gravity
dreamy reverie
synthetic Fauvism
a city built of wood

dramatic over sized spiritually significant
jewel hardened foam: passages for light

images copied from schoolbooks
ripe ordered tabernacle colors
sentimental poetic gifts
unashamed responsive humor
cultural innovation

balloons euphorically float
familiar, throbbing gypsy melodies
paint painful jazz, hebrew-style

prayers prior to buttered bread
road to exile, tragic loss
galley slave’s eternal symbol

a certain pre-surrealistic impractically
drives the artist to paint every roof red


I wrote this based on The Wikipedia article on Marc Chagall

Written for:

Magpie Tales – Mag 110

Photo Credit:  Olga’s Gallery

About zongrik

For those of you who do not know the handle "zongrik," that would be Bat-Ami Gordin. Most people call me "Tammy." Bat-Ami means "daughter of my nation" in Hebrew. It's a heavy name to carry around. I answer to either name. I also answer to "mama." Some Basic Things about me: Animal lover, mom, poet/writer, dramatic soprano, photographer, teacher/tutor, CERT/Technician and, oh yeah, aerospace engineer. I consider myself "The Astro-Poet." To learn more about the origins of the word "zongrik" see whats-a-zongrik?

Posted on April 15, 2012, in Magpie Tales, Sunday Scribblings and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 27 Comments.

  1. gypsy paint jazz hebrew style…nice…i like that…some cool flow and imagery in this ma’am…that opening stanza is a gripper too…

  2. wow…I am trying to decide which definition I like best…you have a great way with word pictures.

  3. excellent! Love the last two lines!

  4. Good peice…you have inspired me to write about Lois Griffel of the Cape Cod School of Art when I met her and attended her workshops on near by Mount Desert Island a few years ago

    Siggi in Downeast Maine.

  5. It’s good to pursue more on the artist! zongrik! You certain came off with a gem! Great write!


  6. Delicious textures here…I especially like “tabernacle colors”…Chagall would like this!

  7. A gem indeed, wonderful write.

    Anna :o]

  8. Colour means many things to many people, but artists are a breed apart, and their colours talk…

  9. Very vivid imagery, just like the painting.

  10. Love it! Especially the ending:

    “a certain pre-surrealistic impractically
    drives the artist to paint every roof red”

    And this:
    “unashamed responsive humor”

    Oh yes, and this:
    “higher than any abstraction
    lies life’s interrogations”

  11. You took me into the Jewish question. Thank you.

    The Jewish Painter

    Colors paint the floor
    of the tabernacle tent
    because He came in.
    that’s what some may say again
    despite all the hints
    of reality
    seeping in through the long folds
    in all four tent walls.

    In Memoriam: Marc Chagall

  12. Oh, yes. To paint the roof red, to paint the town red. You sang this beautifully.

  13. I love your expression and the vivid contrasts you have highlighted here. This is indeed a colorful response. Thank you for sharing your poem, Zongrik. =D

  14. Your words are a painting in themselves.

  15. Some say the colours are the Angels or “Archetypes” themselves ! . This kind of poetic speculation rivets me

  16. Correction:

    ….you certainly came off with a gem…


  17. You certainly did more research than I. I wondered what drove him to paint every roof red. Red is such a no-nonsense color. Thank you!

  18. I love the prayers prior to buttered bread. Really fantastic!

  19. Your poem is as lovely and colorful as a Chagall painting …………

  20. Hey! Hey! You got me! I simply adore this line “unashamed responsive humor” I need red paint – that’s me down to a tee!

  21. This really suits the painting.
    Well done.


  22. Nice work…it is so fitting for the painting and including the artist in your poem is such a creative touch.

  23. What a fine assemblage of words. I had to Goofge “fauvism”

  24. The first stanza sets the tone beautifully.

  25. This is really surreal, just the the picture. Enjoyed it.

  26. Glad I went to your blog, because … I love Chagall! Some of my paintings they say are reminiscent of his style. When I renew my webstite I’ll alert you:)

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