Life is white

White is life; it’s every hue combined in equal measure. The passion of your heart, the love of red, of blood and anger. It’s the cold and distant blue, rejection and the afternoons alone. It’s your suspicion when I’m out with friends, the words that’s whispered by the green-eyed monster. It’s also cowardice when I fail to deal with those that done you bad, jaundiced yellow as a drunkard’s liver. Life is white, a spectral balance of emotional nuances, of cold and warm in careful measures. But when love is fading, gradually the brilliance of also other colors fade, and lethargic you will search for light in voids where the light have ceased. That day when you no longer can distinguish if it’s day or night, it’s night, death is black.

fragrance of lilies —
white against the casket’s lid
an old widow’s hand

It was a long time since I wrote a haibun, and Grace prompt at dVerse inspired me to do an effort. The idea is basically that white is a combination of all colors and black is no color at all.

June 9, 2015

27 responses to “Life is white

  1. Very well put – I agree white is all of that (and more) – and death is black. In between however, there are various shades and hues we can bemoan, and also enjoy.

  2. I like how you define white as all colors, and of course how things happen and bring the shadow and darkness into our lives. Maybe that is an out of balance of colors as well. Got me thinking bjorn.

  3. My son taught me that white is not the absence of color but a combination of them all. I still have a hard time wrapping my mind around that idea, but when you say that black is the absence of color it makes sense. I’ve never heard of a haibun before. I might have to try one. This was very well done, though once again, a bit depressing. Peace, Linda

  4. Colors really have their meanings. As I think about your poem, I find it most interesting that the color red represents two opposite things – love & anger. I wonder if there is any other color that is like that. I do agree — when love fades, the brilliance of other colors fades as well….and at the end one perhaps can view all in shades of grey. Yes, death is black…but I like the contrast with white lilies against the casket lid!

  5. Admiring the haibun Bjorn ~ I specially love how you detailed all the colors following your opening line:

    White is life; it’s every hue combined in equal measure.

    Thanks for the second poem ~

  6. Excellent haibun but the end is heart breaking – more flowers against casket lids…..I remember how we would take prisms and shine light through them to see all the colors….I think of my father and how my mother stroked the closed lid of the casket just before she fainted.

      • You did that excellently. I get images in my head as well. My husband says I am fixated on silence and frozen or earthbound (iteboshi) stars. But the reality of the flowers crushed against the lid is compelling. It is a different reality in both poems – the flowers of the dead bride and the flowers closed in with the dead husband, one a promise never fulfilled, the other the promise at its end. An image that makes one flinch and weep. You wove strong images in both of these. The haibun relentless in its pace.

  7. There is a lot to absorb her. Nicely done.

    Black is the absence of light and since colour is light, black is also the absence of colour. But chemically speaking black is a colour and white is not. But since colour rests in brain function working with vision, perhaps colour can be anything we wish.

    • Chemically speaking there are compounds that mimic both black and white.. they mimic the physical properties by either absorb all light appearing black or reflect it all appearing white… Physically speaking neither white nor black is considered a color (at least that is what I always taught in school).

  8. The Haibun is my meat & potatoes these days, of course I spice it up & personalize it. Spiritually, & classically, your interpretation of B&W is accurate, but when you utilize a prism on the light spectrum, the converse is true. I did some house painting while in college & def when working with pigments, if you mix 10 colors, it comes out black.

  9. I like your Haibun, Bjorn, but I have to disagree with you about death being black. My very first encounter of death was years ago in a car accident, I was 11 & no, it was not black. It was white, whiter than you know, and soft and tender and so peaceful, almost no pain at all. The dark shade of it is only the fear we developed in mind through the various forms & ways, often harsh & tragic, of its coming to us.

    • How interesting.. It actually comforts me.. maybe it’s the death of others that is black.. like a separation where all the light is drawn out of the world to make death white for those that leave.. hmm

  10. I can honestly say from experience true that black is no color of human emotions and senses.. and is darkest life of all.. in death as life..
    but i can honestly say.. too.. from the depth of the blackest
    of human souls.. hearts.. and spirits..
    there is a potential
    for Phoenix to rise
    out of
    asHes aS whitE fiRe SpiRit
    iN passiOn heArt SOul aGain..:)

  11. The representation of colours can be so interesting…as I would never have imagined “white is life” until reading this.
    I had to scroll quickly….the photo may give me nightmares.

  12. An intense and deeply evocative haibun. Colors are an intuitive and interpretive metaphor for many aspects of life. “That day when you no longer can distinguish if it’s day or night, it’s night, death is black.” – Brilliant – the quirky pragmatism summarized in the overt droll assertion: the mainstay of black humor.

    That setup … and then … the blast from that haiku. An awesome write.

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