“Blue is therefore most suitable as the color of interior life.” ~ William H. Gass
THE LAND OF BLUE
by Laura Mucha
Across the valley, it waits for you, a place they call The Land of Blue.
It’s far and near, it’s strange yet known –
and in this land, you’ll feel alone,
you might feel tears roll down your cheek,
you might feel wobbly, weary, weak.
I know this won’t sound fun to you –
it’s not – this is The Land of Blue.
It’s blue – not gold or tangerine,
it’s dark – not light, not bright or clean.
It’s blue – and when you leave, you’ll see
the crackly branches of the tree,
the golden skies, the purring cat,
the piercing eyes, the feathered hat
and all the other things that come
when you escape from feeling glum.
Across the valley, it waits for you,
a place they call The Land of Blue
and going there will help you know
how others feel when they feel low.
As the poet explains at her website, this poem was written for a poetry workshop in response to a painting she saw at the National Gallery in London. The painting featured two mountains with a “land of blue” in the distance. She thought perhaps people went there when they were sad.
Though initially written as a children’s poem, Mucha’s observations about sorrow — that experiencing it ultimately helps us develop compassion and empathy — certainly applies to adults as well. I was also reminded of how Mr Rogers stressed the importance of honoring children’s emotions and encouraging them to speak freely about what they were experiencing.
I do love how art begets more art (which is why I’ve always enjoyed ekphrastic poetry). In Mucha’s case, her emotional reaction to the painting inspired her to explore often untalked-about-feelings within the safe space of a poem.
Every day I look at a lot of art, listen to music, and read inspiring words, both poetry and prose. How effectively a piece is able to instantly make me feel something is a good gauge of its worth.
I agree with William Gass that blue is most suitable as the color of interior life. Picasso comes to mind, with his famous Blue Period. He was going through a profound depression after the suicide of his friend, but just as Mucha suggests about the nature of despondency, he was eventually able to move past his dark mood in a few years.
Although blue is quite often associated with coldness and melancholy, we see through the works of other artists that the “land of blue” may also be one of peace, serenity, calmness, reflection, and deep, abiding beauty.
A LITTLE BLUE GALLERY
Do any of the following paintings speak to you? Maybe you’d like to write a poem about it. If so, leave it in the comments, or email it to me later (I might share it in a future post). Would love to visit your personal land of blue. 🙂
*If you’re a Chagall fan, see my post, “Marc Chagall’s Blue World” for lots more.
Listen to Helena Bonham Carter read Laura Mucha’s poem:
The lovely, lithe, and lyrical Linda Baie is hosting the Roundup at TeacherDance. Leap over there to check out the full menu of poetic goodness being shared in the bloggy world this week. Perhaps this is a good weekend to lollygag.
“A certain blue enters your soul.” ~ Henri Matisse
Copyright © 2019 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.