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.
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.
On TV, it was all about Ricky Nelson. Never missed an episode of “Ozzie and Harriet.” So handsome!
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:
*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”?
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.
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):
I’m convinced Ronan inherited his good looks from Ol’ Blue Eyes himself (his likely father):
When I need cheering up, Ellen never lets me down. Her eyes are full of such earnest compassion and caring.
And my all-time favorite comedian had such soul in his eyes.
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!
(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:
Of course, I wouldn’t turn down an invitation from any of these guys, either:
Somebody call the Fire Department!!
Hey, male actors don’t own it all. Some of our finest actresses are in the blue club too:
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:
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.
I’ve had the distinct pleasure of featuring these blue-eyed wonders at one time or another at Alphabet Soup:
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 . . .
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:
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.
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.
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.
“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.” ~
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.