My role had been observer and reporter,
photographer who from afar would shoot,
to capture in what seemed to be disorder
a beautiful design, for love, not loot.
The people and the things that I observed
provided me with beauty that I sought
as I remained within myself reserved,
not in a world of life but one of thought,
but at an Indian festival of hues,
the joy was overflowing, drenching me,
so I who went for pictures I could use,
became participant and happily,
I shed my usual observer’s role:
to join and not just watch restores the soul.
The festival of colors started out
an afternoon of rain and too much gray,
and soaking gusts of wind made people doubt
the music tent would not be blown away.
My photographs had been in black and white
in years before that cloudy April day,
and though their color palette now was wide,
the overcast was standing in their way.
The rain departed and the sun returned,
and colors muted finally could shout
as leaden gray shades gradually turned
to vibrant hues that day was all about.
For all of us, it only takes a ray
to make a wealth of colors out of gray.
Some see the world in shades of black and white,
like Dorothy did before she went to Oz
and think that only their slim view is right,
though thinking this be often some war’s cause.
But at a color festival we wore
white shirts to which the colors would be hurled
in playful fights, delightful, unlike war,
the kind of fights that make a better world.
How wonderful that we of many hues
throw colors at each other, having fun,
in play wars which, to win, we need to lose,
to turn as colorful as everyone.
How wonderful, it doesn’t take a wizard,
for colors to swirl around us like a blizzard.
For I who’ve lived where temperatures turn cold
and people often imitate the weather,
aloofly intellectual, not bold,
at warming life through playfulness together,
a color festival was welcome air,
for its unbridled plenitude of fun,
for celebrating which, for us, is rare,
so focused on the work we must get done.
We’ve had to live for green that we can earn,
as if like drones designed to be restrained,
but at a festival I got to learn,
indoctrinated minds can be retrained:
we needn’t be like climates that turn icy:
we’ll make our bland lives colorful and spicy.
Mario A. Pita