baby’s got blue eyes (+ a giveaway)

“We begin in infancy by establishing correspondence of eyes with eyes.” ~ Robert Frost

 

One of my favorite blue-eyed poets (portrait by Boris Chaliapin, 1950)

 

FRAGMENTARY BLUE
by Robert Frost

Why make so much of fragmentary blue
In here and there a bird, or butterfly,
Or flower, or wearing-stone, or open eye,
When heaven presents in sheets the solid hue?

Since earth is earth, perhaps, not heaven (as yet) —
Though some savants make earth include the sky;
And blue so far above us comes so high,
It only gives our wish for blue a whet.

*

Most days I can’t decide what to worry about most: Coronavirus? Evil President and his cohorts? Economic collapse? Climate change? Gun violence? The total dismantling of our democracy?

As the old saying goes, when things get tough, the tough gaze at blue eyes . . . 😀

Recently I’ve been peering at pretty peepers, relishing the fragmentary blue of the “open eye.” Therein lies history, mystery, emotion. Wishes held, secrets kept. Sometimes the weight and joy of humanity.

Wider than the sky, deeper than the sea, lost in soulful windows of blueness is where I want to be.

One could say Blue Eyes are my drug of choice. I like making much of those glimpses of heaven.

 

Princess Charlotte

 

My infatuation with iridescent indigo irises dates back to childhood. When I was around five, my father tested out his new tape recorder by asking me a few questions. I didn’t know how tall I was, but was certain of one thing:

“I have blue eyes.”

Well, now. You must understand that when you’re Asian, blue eyes are quite the novelty. Everybody I knew had brown eyes. Pretty boring. Maybe I had seen someone with blue eyes in one of my Golden Books. I wanted those, and saying I had them made it so.

Now, when I think about the people I most admire, the ones who’ve made a lasting impression on me creatively, emotionally, intellectually — they all just happen to have blue eyes. Uncanny.

Could people with blue eyes be a little bit smarter, more attractive, more charismatic, more talented or successful than the majority of us brown-eyed folks? At the very least, blue-eyed people know how to get my attention.

To begin with, I began crushing on Elvis when I was 7 or 8. I was instantly sold after seeing him in “King Creole,” “Love Me Tender,” and “Jailhouse Rock.” My cousins and I never missed a new Elvis movie, and we often acted them out. When I was around 9, I saw Elvis filming “Blue Hawai’i” by the pineapple fields.

 

“baby’s got blue eyes”

 

On TV, it was all about Ricky Nelson. Never missed an episode of “Ozzie and Harriet.” So handsome!

 

“like a deep blue sea on a blue blue day”

 

By the time I entered high school, I was a full-fledged fan girl — going to concerts, stalking rock stars at the airport, whipping myself into a frenzy over the British Invasion. Again, the blue eyes:

 

Ringo Starr (Beatles)

 

Peter Noone (Herman’s Hermits)

 

Mick Jagger (Rolling Stones)

 

Ray Davies (Kinks)

 

*pauses to fan self*

Is it just me, or is it getting hot in here? 😀

And who can forget those heady Woodstock days, with the ultimate Stephen Stills/CSN love song, “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes”?

 

After their 60’s love affair ended, Collins and Stills remained friends. It wasn’t until 2017 that they finally recorded an album together.

 

Can we just look at Judy Collins’s eyes again? Gorgeous! No wonder Stephen Stills (who also has blue eyes), had to title his song after them.

 

 

By the time I was in college, I was enamored of singer-songwriters, male and female. Extraordinarily talented, they composed songs that endure generation after generation.

 

Joni Mitchell

 

James Taylor

 

Carly Simon

 

Bob Dylan

 

Sigh. Dylan’s baby blues keep haunting me. Wasn’t it nice of Bob to pass on his best feature to his son Jakob?

 

 

So easy on the eyes.

And it hasn’t always been just about musicians. Take my favorite journalists (they can interview me anytime):

 

Anderson Cooper

 

Ronan Farrow

 

I’m convinced Ronan inherited his good looks from Ol’ Blue Eyes himself (his likely father):

 

Frank Sinatra

 

Vintage coolness.

When I need cheering up, Ellen never lets me down. Her eyes are full of such earnest compassion and caring.

 

“like a clear blue sky watching over me”

 

And my all-time favorite comedian had such soul in his eyes.

 

“blue eyes holding back the tears, holding back the pain”

 

Miss him a lot.

Then there are my favorite royals. It started with Diana’s blues, which got passed down to William and Harry.

 

 

 

And of course, my favorite Queen has blue eyes too (wonderful twinkle in them!).

 

 

Can’t leave out the most heart-thumping, pulse-racing, giddy-inducing category of all — blue-eyed actors!

Brace yourselves.

(Best to get your oven mitts ready, because these guys positively sizzle!)

When it comes to Hollywood, several leading men have set the gold (or should I say, “blue”) standard:

 

Paul Newman (“baby’s got blue eyes and I am home again”)

 

Robert Redford

 

Brad Pitt

 

Of course, I wouldn’t turn down an invitation from any of these guys, either:

 

Bradley Cooper

 

Liam Neeson

 

Hugh Grant

 

Ralph Fiennes

 

Kevin Costner

 

Patrick Dempsey (sometimes blue, sometimes green)

 

Henry Cavill

 

Somebody call the Fire Department!!

Hey, male actors don’t own it all. Some of our finest actresses are in the blue club too:

 

 

Meryl Streep

 

Jennifer Lawrence

 

Elizabeth Taylor (does violet count?)

 

Jane Fonda

 

Marilyn Monroe

 

Nicole Kidman

 

And it’s not just about movieland fantasies, either. I delight in many contemporary blue-eyed artists and writers, in whose work I’ve found enduring solace, inspiration and joy.

You’ve probably heard me rave about these two UK artists:

 

Emily Sutton

 

Mark Hearld

 

And of course, there’s my ongoing Maira Kalman adoration:

 

 

One of the greatest pleasures and privileges is to be able to see the world through their eyes. They’ve given us extraordinary ways of envisioning all the possibilities.

And how would I live without poetry? Poets are able to filter their acute powers of observation through the mind’s eye.

 

Mary Oliver photo by Angel Valentin/NYT (2013)

 

I’ve had the distinct pleasure of featuring these blue-eyed wonders at one time or another at Alphabet Soup:

 

Barbara Crooker

 

Jeannine Atkins

 

David L. Harrison (an original hotTEA!)

 

Diane Lockward (she wrote “Blueberry”)

 

Irene Latham

 

Lee Bennett Hopkins (another original hotTea)

 

Sigh. See what I mean? The list goes on . . .

Although green eyes are actually rarer than blue, I maintain that in my world, blue-eyed people possess the rarest of talents. Did you know that due to a genetic mutation some 6,000 to 10,000 years ago, all blue-eyed people are descended from a single, common ancestor?

Whereas brown eyes get their color from the presence of the pigment melatin in the iris, blue eyes lack melatin in the front layer of the iris (stroma), thus appearing blue because of the way it absorbs and scatters light — similar to why the sky appears blue. I also like how blue eyes can change color, appearing green or gray sometimes depending on lighting factors. 🙂

Blue eyes are associated with eternal youth — don’t the sea and sky go on forever anyway? And people with blue eyes supposedly have calm and peaceful personalities. If you have blue eyes, can you attest to that?

Alas, my theory that blue-eyed people are more attractive or smarter than the average bear is not foolproof. Neither my secret husband Colin Firth nor favorite Beatle Paul McCartney has blue eyes. Still, it seems more and more blue-eyed people keep trying to get my attention, and I simply cannot look away . . .

 

Admired Mayor Pete’s clarity of vision during his 2020 Presidential run. Hope for the future.

 

Greta Thunberg. More hope for the future.

 

Though it’s disappointing that Elizabeth Warren won’t be the Democratic nominee, she certainly showed us what dreaming big and fighting hard looked like. Have you ever seen such forthright determination in a pair of blue eyes? Still more hope for the future.

 

 

Finally, here’s a brilliant blue-eyed singer-songwriter to play us out. The video was filmed on the famous Bondi to Bronte Coastal Walk in Sydney, Australia. “Blue Eyes” was nominated for a Best Pop Vocal Performance Grammy in 1983. Both song and video were dedicated to Elizabeth Taylor.

 

 

Hope you enjoyed today’s eyeful, and that this post will encourage you to look up from your cell phones once in awhile and spend more time looking into the eyes of those you love. Regardless of eye color, each pair has an interesting story to tell. Communicate eyes to eyes — you might be surprised what you can find there.

*

 

🤓 SPECIAL BLUE BOOKS GIVEAWAY! 📘

Since it’s Poetry Month, Mr Cornelius, Blue Bear and I would like to thank you for your kind attention and support by giving away three books by three of our favorite true blue writers:

 

BLUETS by Maggie Nelson (Wave Books, 2009).

Suppose I were to begin by saying that I had fallen in love with a color . . .

A lyrical, philosophical, and often explicit exploration of personal suffering and the limitations of vision and love, as refracted through the color blue. With Bluets, Maggie Nelson has entered the pantheon of brilliant lyric essayists.

 

 

 

LITTLE WOMAN IN BLUE: A Novel of May Alcott by Jeannine Atkins (She Writes Press, 2015)

May Alcott spends her days sewing blue shirts for Union soldiers, but she dreams of painting a masterpiece―which many say is impossible for a woman―and of finding love, too. When she reads her sister’s wildly popular novel, Little Women, she is stung by Louisa’s portrayal of her as “Amy,” the youngest of four sisters who trades her desire to succeed as an artist for the joys of hearth and home. Determined to prove her talent, May makes plans to move far from Massachusetts and make a life for herself with room for both watercolors and a wedding dress. Can she succeed? And if she does, what price will she have to pay?

Based on May Alcott’s letters and diaries, as well as memoirs written by her neighbors, Little Woman in Blue puts May at the center of the story she might have told about sisterhood and rivalry in an extraordinary family.

 

 

 

BLUE HORSES: Poems by Mary Oliver (Penguin Books, 2016)

In this stunning collection of new poems, Mary Oliver returns to the imagery that has defined her life’s work, describing with wonder both the everyday and the unaffected beauty of nature.

Herons, sparrows, owls, and kingfishers flit across the page in meditations on love, artistry, and impermanence. Whether considering a bird’s nest, the seeming patience of oak trees, or the artworks of Franz Marc, Oliver reminds us of the transformative power of attention and how much can be contained within the smallest moments.

At its heart, Blue Horses asks what it means to truly belong to this world, to live in it attuned to all its changes. Humorous, gentle, and always honest, Oliver is a visionary of the natural world.

 

 

For a chance to win one of these, please leave a comment at this post naming your favorite blue-eyed person (it could be you!), and tell us why you are smitten with him/her, no later than midnight (EDT) Thursday, April 30, 2020. You may also enter by sending an email with “BLUE BOOKS” in the subject line to: readermail (at) jamakimrattigan (dot) com. Giveaway open to U.S. residents only, please. Good Luck!

*

 

 

ONE FOR THE ROAD: One Christmas Eve, Michael Bond spotted a lone teddy bear left on the shelf at Selfridges in London. Feeling sorry for it, he took it home for his wife, placed it on his mantel, and one day wrote a story about it. Bond’s blue eyes could see into children’s hearts.

 

Paddington creator Michael Bond

 

 

“His eyes are blue, and blue eyes up close are a celestial phenomenon: nebulae as seen through telescopes, the light of unnamed stars diffused through dusts and elements and endlessness. Layers of light. Blue eyes are starlight.” ~ Laini Taylor, Night of Cake & Puppets

*

 

 

The lovely, talented, and nature-loving Christie Wyman is hosting the Roundup at Wondering and Wandering. Glide on over to check out the full menu of poetic goodness being shared around the blogosphere this week. Stay safe, stay strong, be well, and have a good weekend.


 

*Special thanks to Mary Lee Hahn for pointing me to Frost’s “Fragmentary Blue”!

**Copyright © 2020 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

62 thoughts on “baby’s got blue eyes (+ a giveaway)

  1. You’ve got quite a blue wave going on today! I’m glad you included some of our own dear poets. My husband has strikingly blue eyes. My eyes are olive-brown and our kids have green, blue-gray, and greenish-blue eyes. Blue appears to dominate brown in our little group!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh, I would love the Mary Oliver book! She is such a wonderful poet/writer. This was a very enjoyable blog post! My favorite are brown eyes. I thought this brownish blonde, green-eyed single lady would never be a parent. Then I adopted my children from China, and I can’t imagine anything lovelier than their dark brown eyes and dark hair!

    One of my favorite blue-eyed ladies is not one prominently known. Her name is Maggie Doyne. After high school she took a gap year before college and ended up in Nepal. She was horrified to see a 6-year-old child breaking stones in the riverbed to sell. She ended up putting this child through school, including college abroad recently. She built a home and school for children that could not afford to go to school. She is guardian to somewhere around 50 children.

    She recently purchased three acres and built a wonderful campus/school where disadvantaged Nepali kids board and learn skills as well as traditional education. She has a women’s center where the ladies are trained to sew and make things and learn to be self-sufficient. Many have gone on to start their own businesses. I was just thinking of her and how instead of the Kardashians SHE should have her own program. She is such an admirable lady and won Hero of the Year from CNN a few years ago. Her life is a great example of caring and compassion, so inspiring, and would be much better material for young people or anyone to watch!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks so much for telling us about Maggie, Jan! Wow, she’s surely an inspiration and a great humanitarian. It’s especially heartening to hear about her now, with the news of the world so dismal, and we’re feeling so powerless. It shows what one person is capable of doing.

      And how lovely to hear about your brown-eyed children! And nice to know you’re a big Mary Oliver fan, too. 🙂

      Like

  3. Dear Jama, call the fire department indeed! 🙂 Probably my first celebrity crush was when I was about 6 or 7 and our family watched on TV the Jesus of Nazareth miniseries. The actor who portrayed Jesus at age 12, Lorenzo Monet, had those amazing blue eyes! https://www.google.com/search?q=lorenzo+monet+jesus+of+nazareth&rlz=1C5CHFA_enUS720US720&sxsrf=ALeKk03sUkB4CBwV1WvOy8zOeh2g-lnYig:1587729911234&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjMwu7qgoHpAhVKaq0KHWoSCl8Q_AUoAXoECBwQAw&biw=1280&bih=613#imgrc=GrqMJmO7ynY-UM
    As for my favorite blue-eyed wonder irl: my husband! And all 3 of our boys got the blue eyes too. Thank you for sharing your obsession and including me among the blue-eyed poets. I have a poetry collection I hope finds a publisher called DEEPER THAN BLUE. xo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow, Lorenzo does have amazing blue eyes!! I don’t remember seeing that series, cause I would have remembered those eyes too.

      I didn’t realize your husband and sons also have blue eyes. What a family!! And I’m positively swooning over your poetry collection, Deeper Than Blue!! Is it for adults or kids?

      Like

      1. Somehow I got unsubscribed to this email and now it is saying my address is not correct and won’t let me back in. I have to subscribe thru WordPress and I don’t understand how it works. Can you do that for me or tell me how?

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      2. Carol, your second comment seems to have gotten through okay. Have you stopped receiving emails about new blog posts? If so, could you try to resubscribe (just above the More Than Marmalade picture in the sidebar of this blog)?

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  4. Such a fun and nostalgic post, Jama. Great lineup of blue-eyed beauties and creatives- favorites of mine as well. I do hope you will follow up with a tribute to beautiful, talented, brown-eyed folks- like YOU!
    For a long time the song “five foot two, eyes of blue…” pertained to me , but now I’m “five foot one, almost gone!”😊 I’m picking my husband, Rob, for a special blue-eyed soul. Stay safe and healthy, dear Jama!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Wow, love that you brought in such a wide swath of blue-eyes, including today’s friends, Jama. You brought some memories back, too! My father, I think you know, was killed in WWII, & I inherited his brown eyes! But, the rest of the “whole” family, extended, too, have blue eyes! I remember wanting them too when I was young. Now, it’s all okay, but you can see why I felt left out! My favorites must be family, my husband & my children. As for celebrities, I’ve somehow always noticed the bright blue eyes of Jane Goodall! Love the post, like always! Have a wonderful Friday & weekend!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jane Goodall is an excellent choice — thanks for mentioning her. Interesting that your entire family has blue eyes (for awhile, I thought you did too). But then, having brown eyes makes you stand out and all that more special. One of a kind!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. My son’s eyes are as blue as Paul Newman’s and as compelling and sincere. Those blue-all-the-way-through eyes are sincere. Lies cannot hide in that limpid clarity. We believe them and that may be why actors with blue eyes are successful: their eyes convey truth even while they’re acting as another person. That person is truthful.
    And let’s face it – blue eyes are pretty.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m swooning over your comment, and trying to picture your son’s beautiful blue eyes. Yes, I agree with your observation that blue-eyed actors convey truth so well. They ARE pretty and look fabulous on the big screen.

      Like

  7. Oh, my gosh…that was so stinkin’ fun! I laughed and then laughed again. What a collection of blue eyes you’ve put together here. I always felt kinda special with my green eyes since I was never going to win any beauty contests…at least I had my unique green eyes. But, my favorite blue eyes are my Mom’s. I miss her blue eyes very, very much. Jama, what a gift you’ve given with your humor and rigorous research today. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Green eyes are rarer than blue — you are indeed blessed with a special feature, Linda. Just as you miss your mom’s blue eyes, I miss my mom’s brown eyes. Hugs to you!

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  8. I am literally dying here, from hysteric, Jama. This post was EXACTLY what I needed to end this very long week and it’s another terribly dreary day here in New England. Boy did I need that giggle. And I have to say, although I adore him now, Ralph Fiennes was HOT HOT AFRICA HOT, as we say in my household. 9-1-1, people!!!!! And I must add that I, too, have blue eyes. So there! Cheers, Jama!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. LOL — thanks for making ME laugh, Christie. Your Ralph Fiennes comment is setting this blog on fire. I also love his brother Joe (Shakespeare in Love) even though he doesn’t have blue eyes. You have blue eyes too? Wow, no wonder I have the best blog readers on the planet — so many with blue eyes today!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. 💙Thank you Jama for the perfect post for these very different days! What a gift you have in spreading joy!
    Blue eyes! Love your choices & loved thinking of beautiful blue eyes I have known.

    Our dear college friend Paula T. had sparkling blue eyes that took in all the world had to offer & shown out to everyone her kindness & joy of life. We lived on the same floor in the dorm, the dorm where I met my future husband. We stayed friends through holiday cards & always with the thought we would enjoy each other’s company again. Many years passed….We recently found out that sadly this is not to be, our beautiful blue eyed friend has passed. A lesson we all know, but push aside, don’t wait to enjoy the pleasure of your blue eyed friend.

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  10. So sorry to hear about your friend Paula, Pat. Yes, life is short and so unpredictable. I know you’ll always cherish those fond memories of your special blue eyed friend.

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  11. Beautiful blue eyes are gorgeous, but you forgot my personal favorite blue eyed guy, Tom Selleck! However, brown eyes are pretty, yours included, and here’s a little list of my favorite sultry brown eyed people: Johnny Depp, Natalie Wood, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Collin Farrell, Anne Hathaway, Orlando Bloom… p.s. A favorite of mine with beautiful blue eyes is Pattie Boyd. Thank you for Frank Sinatra and Paul Newman!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Didn’t realize Tom’s eyes were blue — maybe he has the changeable kind. It’s hard to tell in some of the online photos. Nice list of brown eyed folks. I’m a big Natalie Wood fan too, and always envied Pattie Boyd getting to be in Hard Day’s Night with the Beatles, and then marrying George.

      Like

  12. So much blue-eyed fun! And now I feel special with my green eyes (Truth be told, I was always jealous of my older sister’s blues. My first born, who passed away as a 13-month old toddler, was my favorite blue-eyed boy. Dang, I didn’t mean to get emotional in this comment–I guess your post sent me to the blue-eyed past.)

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Thank you for taking me into the wild blue yonder, Jama! Being a blue eyed person I am awed by the folks you featured. I think Michael Bond is the cutest blue eyed visionary. 😉 And wow, Ronan Farrow side by side with Frank Sinatra! Family resemblance, much? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Didn’t know you have blue eyes too, Bridget. So nice to learn these things about long time PF friends. Thanks for joining us in the wild blue yonder today; I’m tickled you like Michael Bond’s photo. 🙂

      Like

  14. Jama, you have swept me away into a gallery of blue-eyed wonders leaving me at total peace. With the shelter-in-place mandate in NY, I have been using Zoom to communicate with my little grandgirls. Recently, I noticed that the blue-gray eyes of my 3-month-old Aurora may remain blue but if they don’t, I can remember the day I looked into them in person. Thank you for this wonderful stroll into blue eyed wonder.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. OH my, I am swooning now. Give me a minute to recover. I always list my eye color as blue, but in reality they change from green to grey to blue. Who would be my favorite blue-eyed person? That would have to be my Grandma BLonnie–her blue eyes seemed to always sparkle with laughter and a little mischief. Even better was when she let me in on the fun!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Your grandma sounds charming, Kay!! Love to see that sparkle in people’s eyes. You’re lucky to have eyes that change color; I was always fascinated by that.

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  16. Lovely sea of blue post Jama, you must have enjoyed assembling all here. I especially like the colorful bird with Emily Sutton, I wonder what it is… Though I have to say, seems like I saw many hazel eyed beauties here, aren’t they in their own category, didn’t know they were grouped with blue. Your post made me think of Crystal Gayle, singing “Don’t it Make My Brown Eyes Blue,” maybe cause I’ve brown eyes. My mom and hubby have hazel–I just like gazing into and upon all eyes, they are fascinating, thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hmmm, I tried to make sure all those included in this post were actually blue-eyed. Yes, hazel is its own category. Sometimes it’s hard to tell from internet photos (I did google most of the bios to check eye color, though). My husband also has hazel eyes :).

      Liked by 1 person

  17. while i can’t say I’m as smitten by blue eyes as you, I certainly love the work of Mary Oliver. Her words – her insight into nature and the human spirit – her spirituality – her wisdom. need i say more?

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Hi, Jama! I must tell you how much I have enjoyed and appreciated your posts, but especially this “blue-eyed” post!! I have blue eyes which I only passed down to one of my four sons!! My husband has brown eyes, and one son has brown eyes, one hazel, one green, and one blue!! Now I have two grandsons, brothers, one brown-eyed, the other blue-eyed. They are both lovely little boys, but my blue-eyed grandson’s eyes are stunning and bright!! They shine!! Take care of yourself!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Marjorie — you have quite a family! How nice to have all the different eye colors represented. Extra special that one son and grandson inherited your blue eyes. 🙂

      Like

  19. Wow, thanks for that! It’s so nice to look at all that blue to take my mind off the mess of the world! Ruth, thereisnosuchthingasagodforsakentown.blogspot.com

    Liked by 1 person

  20. So many beautiful blues! I love and didn’t know “Fragmentary Blue.” Thanks for this very un-melancholic rainbow of blues, Jama!

    Like

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