How Many Blues?

How many words for blue are there
in your language? I answer this as if
I know – blue sky, blue feeling, blue
eye. I want to know the word for blue
in Swahili, in Russian, in Arabic.

I want to taste and breathe it, drink
from its tenderness and power. I wonder
if Gauguin understood blue differently
in Tahiti? I suspect that blue stretched his
mind and cast him out of the prism where
he knew the ache of too-blue.

And the Navaho? What does blue mean
to them? They live in the blue light of red
where shadows cannot bear the blackness
and so–and so, people of the desert
see Ravens in their true color, the blue-
black of all beginning.

by Dean LaTray and Persis Karim 3/1/17

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