“The rose is red because it rejects red.” —John O’Donohue, Beauty: An Invisible Embrace
Van Gogh’s White Roses were meant to be pink,
the faded madder red sold to him by a charlatan
peddling adulterated pigments.
This false red abandoned his roses,
leaving only a chemical trace
accessible to the scientists
who now analyze what lies within.
the roses are white, the pigment
rejecting not only the red vibrations but all
wavelengths of light, sending them bouncing
back at the human eye, as pure white
as the light driven through Newton’s second prism,
Newton discovering that colors
are pieces of a blinding whole.