Monday, 13 June 2011

What if Red Ran Out?

Not your everyday question.  You ask it in a group, and it goes silent and they look at you wondering what you could possibly mean.  To be honest, I'm not all that sure myself.

I'll go back to the beginning. 

A few weeks ago I received a package of poetry books in the mail from John at The Book Mine Set.  John is the host of the Canadian Book Challenge.  I'd won a contest, and they were the prize.  As I browsed through the books, one of them grabbed my attention and I couldn't put it down.  In fact, I could barely bring myself to turn from the cover and open the slim volume.

I find that I am transfixed by the question asked in the title, What if red ran out.  What does it mean.   Does it ask, what if all those items of everyday life that happen to be red, just stop existing, or is it that they have just lost their perceived colour.  I am leaning toward the second.  What if we couldn't see that a tomato was red, would it still get ripe?  Would we know the burner on the electric stove was hot?  How would you blush?  Would we have to change the colours of our beloved red maple leaf flag?  What if red ran out?
The question is a line from a poem titled Baffled King Collage.  I keep rereading the poem, but as soon as I get to that line, I'm stopped, I can't seem to put it behind me.

I have experienced a world without red. I'm not colourblind or anything like that.  I have been scuba diving, and red is the first colour that you lose as you descend.   Getting technical, red has the longest wavelength, and travels the shortest distance through water.  You can check the article on Wikipedia for details.  At first you don't really notice, but as you go deeper,  you'll notice that what you are looking at just doesn't seem as rich. It all seems flatter.

Would it be like that on land if for some reason the human population lost the ability to see red?

My daughter wrote a post on this question.

Shannon at Illusion esk.

Does this question resonate with you?  Leave a comment and share your thoughts, or better yet, write a post on your blog and send me your link.  I am curious.

What if red ran out by Katia Grubisic.  Katia is the new editor of ARC Poetry Magazine.


Sherrie said...

Hi Heather,
I'm not much into poetry. It confuses me for some reason. I just don't get it. As for red running out. There is a tomato that isn't red when it's ripe. It's a yellow tomato. They are yellow when they are ripe and they are less acidic than red tomatoes. I was browsing through your posts. Never heard of Chia but it sounds like a great thing. Your quilt is beautiful. Love the color combination and the pattern. Thanks for stopping by. Have a great day!

Just Books

Felicity Grace Terry said...

HMM, what if? Now you have me thinking.

Actually this post put me in mind of both the films Schindler's List and The Sixth Sense in which the colour red played such a significant part. Fascinating, thanks Heather.