Just about every day, the sunshine is pouring into the apartment. It’s lovely. And so is this silver that I bought recently. It still needs to be polished, but I’m saving that task for a dreary day.

A few months ago, I put away my stainless steel flatware and began using silver. I’ll never go back. I love the weight, the color, the shape and the texture. I want heirlooms, things of value, objects that are worth keeping and passing along.

There is joy in things, if only because an elegant thing reminds us to notice. There is so much beauty everywhere. We forget this.

This poem is a nice lesson in how to see. (It’s not just men who say brown. We all do.)


Men Say Brown

By Henry M. Seiden

On the radio this morning: The average woman knows
275 colors—and men know eight. Women say coffee,
mocha, copper, cinnamon, taupe. Men say brown.
Women know an Amazon of colors I might have said
were green, an Antarctica of whites, oceans of colors
I’d stupidly call blue, fields of color, with flowers in them
I would have said were red.
From women, I’ve learned to love the browns,
the earths, the dusts, the clays, the soft colors, the colors
brought out from the mines, hardened ones,
hardened in fires I would call red; the colors of the furies;
the reconciling colors of the cooling ash.
By myself I know the evening colors when the sky goes
from blue to another blue to black—although it’s a lonely,
whitish black sometimes,
                                                                        like the color of sleep—
the way dreams are lit by the light that’s thrown
from nowhere on the things you find in them. Last night
there was a turtle, I would say it was brown or green,
or it was a snake, mottled, a kind of grey, disguised
as a turtle, red spots as if painted on the shell,
a palish greenish underside—vulnerable, alone
swimming in water I would say was colorless.
I woke to the pale colors of the morning—no one
has a name for those: the white-rose white you see
through the white of the curtains on the window,
the milks, the creams, the cream a galactic swirl
before it turns to brown when your wife stirs it in the coffee,
the faint drying oval on the silver of the spoon.

Source: Poetry (January 1999).