For our ongoing color series Susan Zwinger has contributed her poem in praise of burnt orange. Susan has collaborated with Partners in Design as both an accomplished illustrator and writer on interpretive displays.

Worldwide most humans love blue,
loose-hipped, easy nymph of the sky
and sea. Not me, when my life grows
tough, no blues in smoky dives.
I mix yellow’s sun with sheer
matadorian drama–
Russia, Mexico and China–
and run.

Orange is a rude joke at best,
hunters’ hats, traffic vests,
life jackets Mae Westly puffed,
pilots finding orange rafts on vast,
undulating seas. Even Black Boxes
are orange, sunk in debris.
Rescue’s hue sans the nobility.

But burnt orange, O breath!
is the color of my heart. Haciendas
on cliffs, tiger lilies, bougainvillea.
Burnt humble, earth’s umber,
voluptuous esteem, iron oxide blushed
by volcanic steam,
sandstone pinnacles, old machines
going to ground, Utah’s flame.

Our old house in the Springs’
rusty clay floor, a fiery tale of mud
gone epic. Like art, loving burnt
orange takes guts. Crisp cedar chests
in the nose, chests of embarrassment.

On my clearest days I write in burnt
sienna on terra cotta knees.

May, 2009

Everyone is invited to express their own thoughts on the growing color palette (post your comments), or please consider submitting a color of your own choice (email writing and/or art to: stephen -AT-