New colours

A part of me wants to understand a new colour,
To wake up and stretch my mind
And suddenly see things I couldn’t before.
Tetrachromats can do it, can’t they?
So I’m thinking it’s physics,
Like the spatial dimensions of the world,
I need to use the spectrum I already own
And add something else to it,
To turn a point into a line into a plane.
But I don’t have that special fourth cone,
So I suppose I’d have to improvise.
Maybe I can just repurpose another sense.
I can make a new shade out of colour and feeling,
Like the specific kind of blue of sadness,
Or that particular combination of purple and yellow
That I see streaked in Euston Square
That somehow always reminds me
Of the dancing butterflies in the singing box
I always played with as a baby,
Probably because both were so polished and shiny.
Or maybe that twist of orange and green
Of porous artificial flowers
That make such a racket when you flick them.
It’s annoying.
Because I realize all of these
Are not in any way new colours,
They are perfectly old, perceivable colours
Packed together with specific memories.
So the rest of me is not concerned about novelty,
But about how poorly we can handle the rest,
How you can’t quite capture sun in a photo
Or mix your paints to match the shadow,
Or even draw that shine with your words.
I guess I was wrong. You can’t make new colours
Out of colours streaked with circumstance,
But you can certainly make new memories.
And the best part of memories
Is being able to take them out of their box
And run your fingers over them,
Checking that they’re still what your remember,
And perhaps share them with someone.
They do no good if they’re trapped
Inside your mind, in a fuzzy state of semi-existence.
So I guess what I should really want
Is to properly understand my old colours instead.

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