Consider black’s effect; when it’s combined
With other colors just a little trace
Creates a shade but more will hide, erase
The hue till just the dark is left behind.
Is white black’s opposite? Its presence tints
When tweaking tones, but mixes that diverge
To mostly white begin to bleach, converge
On unity from which no color hints.

Developed to full strength both black and white
Conceal all colors; when the two combine
What possibilities arise? Could freed
Potentials spread their wings and take first flight,
Not dulled by gray but bright with silver’s shine
In search of truths some circumstance might need?



Charlie Bauer resides in Chapel Hill, NC and is a salesman for a commercial carpet manufacturer. 

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8 Responses

  1. Susan Jarvis Bryant

    A serious point made creatively and beautifully. I like the allusion to the science of color in the first stanza giving way to the spiritual message of the second. The wonderful image of those wings of potential, “Not dulled by gray but bright with silver’s shine” is lovely. An admirable poem, indeed.

  2. Margaret Coats

    Charlie, this is a very, very beautiful poem on color and its philosophy. You take the combination of black and white to be either gray or silver, and point to the choice of silver as one with higher potential. And of course you’re suggesting that this applies in many other areas. It is a great deal to say in the scope of a sonnet, but you’ve done it quite well.
    Another sonnet that does a fine job on the topic, but with a different perspective, is “Grey Sonnet” by Theresa Rodriguez, which is here on, somewhat obscured because the lead title on the posting is “Writer’s Block.” Your sonnet and Theresa’s make quite a pair for comparison. Thanks!

    • Charlie Bauer

      Hi Margaret,

      Thanks for your kind words! While writing this poem there were several times in which I despaired of my choice of the form of a sonnet… Thank you also for making me aware of Ms. Rodriguez’s poem as it is excellent.

  3. Monty

    That’s a clever piece, Charlie. I didn’t find it immediately obvious what you were trying to convey, but after slowly re-reading it a couple of times, I grasped what you were saying. You’ve made a good case for your theory; and you’ve presented it in a very well-written sonnet (apart from the minor incongruity of trace/erase). It’s had the effect of making me think more closely about something we normally take for granted.

    • Charlie Bauer

      Thank you Monty, I appreciate you taking the time to read it. It was written as a meditation on Zoroastrian/Manichean (polarized) thinking; I hope you find it useful.


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