White as …

Colour – or lack of it – can be hard to describe. What colour was it? we ask. ‘Blue,’ we are told. But that could mean a blue, pale as forget-me-nots or a blue so dark that you might think it was black. The blue compared with forget-me-nots, might make us think of spring, of brightness, freshness, and that poignancy in the flower’s name. Do not forget me. Navy blue might make us think of uniforms, tailored suits, seriousness.

The poet, Lavinia Greenlaw, during a workshop, made us think about all the different ways in which we might describe colour, and how our decisions change how a reader thinks about the object described. She wrote out these words:

white as milk

white as asbestos

white as angel’s bones

Each time we imagine a different quality of white.

Each time, our view of the white object is changed. 

Think about the difference between milk and asbestos. What difference would it make if it were not angel’s bones, but angel’s wings?

The related task is straightforward -choose a colour and write as many different comparisons as you can. You may have to remind children that ‘as red as my pencil case’ may not work, as we don’t know what that red is, but we could help the reader by comparing it to something else that is red: ‘… as red as a cherry tomato …. as red as hot coals …   and so on.

It’s a list!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s