PURPLE has always been my favorite color. I’m not one to have a lot of purple around, even though I like it- I don’t have a lot of purple clothes or purple objects, but I am fiercely loyal to purple and I get very depressed whenever I am reminded that Fiona’s favorite color somehow turned out to be pink and not purple. And I am reminded of this probably 10 times a day.


When I was at my dad’s house this summer, I found this book in a box. Some years ago I had packed up all the books that I wanted to save for my own children and this book was one I had forgotten about but remembered instantly as soon as I opened the cover.


This must have been a book my mom used as a teacher, you can see how it is labeled


This book was written by Mary O’Neill and illustrated by Leonard Weisgard. “Hailstones and halibut bones” was published in 1961.  I was probably reading it in the early ’80s. Appropriately subtitled, “Adventures in Color,” O’Neill takes each color and weaves rhyming poems around what she imagines that color is. Her evocative similes cascade one after the next as she interprets color in imagination, nature, the senses and everyday objects.

I carried the book with us in my suitcase along with a bunch of other ones and when I showed it to my friend Melinda, she also had the same reaction of remembering it instantly and having  a very strong connection to certain poems. Does anyone else remember this book? I’d love to hear your memories in the comments.


After reading through it as an adult, I’ve thought it would be fun to try and think of what kind of poem I would write in order to describe a color. If I had more creative energy today I’d want to see what I could come up with for purple, but since I know I’d rather stay true to Mary O’Neil anyway, I’ll include hers here and a photo which I feel goes along with the last four lines.


Time is purple

Just before night

When most people

Turn on the light—

But if you don’t it’s

A beautiful sight.

Asters are purple,

There’s purple ink.

Purple’s more popular

Than you think….

It’s sort of a great

Grandmother to pink.

There are purple shadows

And purple veils,

Some ladies purple

Their fingernails.

There’s purple jam

And purple jell

And a purple bruise

Next day will tell

Where you landed

When you fell.

The purple feeling

Is rather put-out

The purple look is a

Definite pout.

But the purple sound

Is the loveliest thing

It’s a violet opening

In the spring.


A purple sound- Fiona, June 2010- Andrew’s Hof in Munich

That’s the end of our rainbow! Sorry, no Indigo or violet, this is the plain and simple version! I thought of doing “Gold” of course or a post on “rainbow” itself, but this is where this series will end this year. I’d love to do it again in the future.  Hopefully you readers enjoyed something a little different and that you had a Happy St. Patrick’s Day. If’ I’m not feeling too burned out, I’ll do a write up on how our day went.


2 responses to “PURPLE 紫 MURASAKI

  1. I hope you know I was completely joking about including indigo & violet!! I love this series and am so happy you ended it with a poem from that wonderful book. I have the best memories of it and had somehow forgotten until you reminded me in July (I think purple and orange were my favorites). I have since located it at my mom’s house and next time I go I will sneak it away to read to my children. She captures colors (or “colours” as Clara still spells it) perfectly. Anyway, thanks for the series, it was thoughtful and beautiful and I enjoyed seeing both current pictures as well as your creative way to showcase pictures over the past few years. It was so fun and I looked forward to your posts each day.


  2. Pingback: ╭ ( o‿ o#)ᕗ100th Post Celebration Pt.II ! | RIJ & MEG·

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