I’ve been finding sense and understanding of the universe through colors recently. In recent posts you’ll discover blue, green, yellow and orange. Now I feel that I’m the man in the rainbow coat or that he is a real figure inside me. But when Red announced its presence in this progression of colors I felt a little bit overawed. I can’t help giving it a capital letter. And yet for all its imposing strength red (small letter again!) can be quite elusive. It’s never general and diffuse like green, its opposite, but always distinctive and purposeful. At first – in this inner poetic process – it presented itself as if bobbing into view, like a figure in a hat. Then the image refined itself and it became a felt hat. But then I realized that the ‘felt’ as worn on the head indicated feelings that had passed over into conceptions. The inward red of the heart contains deeper things: feelings kept alive for truth. And then it dawned on me that red in thinking and red in feeling call up something more immediate still: red in will. At this point I imagined I could see a red cape rippling behind me.
The past, the present and the future are involved in this. The characteristic of willing is its commitment to the future: when you’re engaged in an action you don’t see yourself performing it. Hence the rippling of the red cloak is something others see, or which you imagine afterwards. And in true feeling – constancy, love and so on – the redness is a given: open but secret at the same time; not for everyone’s eyes, and living in a kind of eternal present. That leaves the red in the felt hat. The word ‘felt’ is the key. The feeling is done and achieved, therefore the head can wear it: it belongs to the past and can be conceptualized. But once again it is the characteristic of a hat that you don’t see it while it’s on your head – thus red contrives to conceal itself again.
At any given moment Red is an image of truth, constancy and purpose. And as a color it grows very close to expressing the soul’s purpose. Therefore it deserves a special regard – a capital letter. The cloak, the hat, the blood of the heart, are quite strong pictures – for me at least – of its special quality. At any rate it holds a place of honor in the rainbow coat – which is not yet complete.
The Rainbow Coat
I am myself both target and arrow
but wonder who it is that pulls the bow.
I am myself road and destination
but can’t determine quite who is walking -
pilgrim, teacher, poet or none of these.
The man in the rainbow coat goes with me
and I feel for once that I’m not the fool
and not a holy innocent at all -
he takes that distinction from me, this man,
and wears it with his own wit and wisdom.
The target and destination are clear -
the purpose of the traveler less so.
Red in the universe, so I believed,
would receive answer from Red in the soul -
and yet this very strongest of colors
is most elusive. The felt of a hat,
the feeling of a heart’s own direction,
hold it. The one on your head you can’t see,
the other so sincere it stays unseen.
Red in thought and Red in pure emotion -
so must I match them with Red in my will?
Yet another invisibility:
the red cloak of action – for while you do
your doing ripples for others to see.
Doing I capture by surprise – an act
is like a ruby in its box which I
must open to feel the blood set in stone.
That worlds may have collided in past times
to make a jewel of Red is not my care.
I’m looking for the evidence of will
recorded in my soul – the past in view.
But images must fly away and leave
the living to make sense of its design.
I am the man in the rainbow colors
with a special salutation for Red
which is the vision supreme of my work.
Best wishes, today,
©Jay Landar 2013. All rights reserved
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