Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Secret Life of Crayons

Of all the world’s mysteries
that stretch across the eons,
is one that mystifies me most -
the secret life of crayons.

They seem so simple lying there
or in a tiny fist,
drawing up a family
or wishful Christmas list.

But when the stars are shining down
and dreams drift trough our heads,
they peek from boxes, desks and drawers
and tiptoe past our beds.

Black and Grey take to the streets
and Yellow, just a little,
takes their hands and leaps and skates
precisely down the middle.

Brown and Umber climb the trees
and swing down from the boughs;
Sienna strolls along a fence,
counting all the cows.

Lime and Mint and Forest Green
play tag across the lawns,
over bushes, leaf to leaf –
the secret life of crayons.

Pink and Purple, Goldenrod,
they stop to smell the blooms;
Plum and Melon, Yellow-Orange
thread flowerbeds like looms.

Silver, Gold and Navy Blue
take long walks in the city,
until the buildings, cars and trains
are shimmering and pretty.

White, she disappears alone
with precious few selections;
she whispers from behind the moon
and kisses its reflections.


Sky Blue and Sand meet up with Tan
and fill the cracks and crannies,
while Lavender and Burgundy
check in on gramps and grannies.

Cerulean and Salmon leap
through Periwinkle skies,
and all the others tumble home
with giggles and goodbyes.

Few have ever seen them, true,
and fewer still admit it,
that morning always seems so bright
because the crayons did it.

They scamper back into their place
as we stir in our yawns,
never guessing that there is
a secret life of crayons.

12 comments:

Catvibe said...

Wow, you found my little friends and made them live! This is a perfect poem. Do you paint Joaquin? Your color grasp is exquisite.

Karen said...

This is a poem for my heart! How willing would you be to allow me to copy this and use it with a group of children in an art club who are just beginning to study color, line, and form? It would begin a very colorful (oh, sorry; couldn't resist) discussion. I'd tell them my good friend joaquin wrote it. What say ye?

I love it. It is perfect.

Julie said...

I love it when I read a poem that is so enjoyable to me, but it would also be wonderful for kids. Like Karen says, it would be an awesome teaching tool.

Your poem also inspired me to look up the history of crayons, and I found some interesting info. about the names of Crayola crayons. Supposedly, the name flesh was changed to peach after the civil rights movement. Prussian Blue was changed to Midnight Blue in 1958. Sorry for the ramble, but your poems always inspire me that way.

Each of the colors' actions in the poem matches their color so well. I especially love the stanzas with the greens playing on the lawns and the browns climbing trees. And white hiding behind the moon. Beautiful.

Jannie Funster said...

Ahhhh, what a sweet little stunner, Joaquin! I will read this to my daughter.

"Sienna strolls along a fence,
counting all the cows." Such an original line in such an original poem.

Are you really for real? You're imported, right? From a distant galaxy? :)

Yep Grannie Jannie -- very much into lavender an burgundy, dead ringer on that one too. :)

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

Delightful personification of one of my favorite things! I have always loved crayons. It may have started when I used to play with Mom's Cray Pas' (oil pastels) in her art studio.

Silver, Gold and Navy Blue
take long walks in the city,
until the buildings, cars and trains
are shimmering and pretty.

How creative and imaginative! I love the way you match the colors with what they do. It is just seamless.

Great rhythm and rhyme. Love it!

Aniket said...

You should send this to PIXAR. Seriously. They'll make a short movie out of it.

I could picture the cryons dancing away in the night. It brought fond memories of ELVES AND THE SHOEMAKER.

I say it again and again. The charm of your peoms are they are so very simple to grasp and understand and yet there's nothing simple about them.

I'll remember this one for a long time. Can't wait to sing it out aloud once am alone. :D

Jannie Funster said...

I heard a song a few back something like "Crayola's Got No Color For Your Eyes." Cute song. Won a big song award in the childrens' category.

Anyhoo, just a-passin' thru.

joaquin carvel said...

cat - thanks! a perfect poem? is there such a thing? nevermind - i'll take it. no, i don't paint. sometimes i draw in a...um...primitive style, though.

karen - are you kidding? how could i possibly turn that down? have at it - if you think it would be useful, i'd be honored to have it be part of art club!

julie - thank you. i love that it inspired you to look up the history - i tend to do that a lot myself when i read and when i write - i actually did some research on this one because i only wanted to use colors that are (or were) used as crayon names. i just get geeky that way sometimes.

jannie - oooo - wish i could hear your daughter's reaction - she doesn't seem the type to pull punches. :) yep - imported - from so. cal, which may or may not be a distant galaxy, depending on who you ask. and grannie jannie in lavendar - now that's imagery!

k. - thank you - this was a fun one to write - just kind of took off on its own. hard to go wrong with crayons, right?

aniket - now there's an idea - pixar. i thought it'd be a good picture-book but couldn't find a publisher who agreed, so....maybe a short? thank you - sing it loud and proud!

Sarah Hina said...

Joaquin, I've been pressed for time and not able to blog like I want, but I read this when you posted it, through Google Reader, and it made me smile so huge that I had to come back to it. You're remarkable.

If crayons have souls, you've surely captured the shade of them right on their pointed noses. I just love it. Love it!

Karen said...

joaquin - Just a note: I had a friend read this, and she cried because she loves it so.

joaquin carvel said...

sarah - :D thank you! google reader, huh? I should check that out.

karen - thank you for sharing that with me - i'm blown away by it.

Oracle of the Pearl said...

I always wondered what they did when they weren't with me.
I'd love to see this illustrated. On second thought, I don't need to. Wonderfully visual, you made my night.
-Pearl