The Old Man and the Rainbow (A Parable of Sorts)

07 Jan


Photo by RoganJosh on Morgue File.

Write about anything you’d like, but make sure that all seven colors of the rainbow — red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet — make an appearance in the post, either through word of image.

What do you see when you see a rainbow, the old, weather-faced man asked the sky-gazing maiden?

Why, I do not know sir, came her melancholy reply, For, I have never seen such a thing before.

What, said the old man in a surprised tone!

No sir, it is true, I swear it is so, she assured him, I have never, no never, never, ever, ever have seen a rainbow traced across the sky.

Why, that is preposterous, the old man said, with agitation and lingering disbelief in his voice, I have never met lad or lass who has never seen, at least once, at least in part; though perhaps faint and dim by the brightness of the sun, a rainbow in the sky.

Alas, she answered, I can assure you, I am that lass: that lass who has never, no never seen a rainbow in the sky.

You, you must be sheltered, the old man stuttered, How can any lass as yourself, acquainted as you seem to be with the outdoors, never have seen a rainbow in the sky?

I do not know all the answers why, she said with  a passing glance, All I can say, with absolute certainty and veracity, is I have never, no never, seen a fair rainbow cross the sky.

Not once, once only, the old man persisted?

Nay, not even once; even still, not even half of once, the young maid replied.

But, you must know something of it, you must have heard of its beauty and grace, the old man stammered in his feigned eloquence of thought, It is the most beautiful thing these old eyes have ever seen. Just one look at yon rainbow arching in the eastern sky, causes my heart to dance within my chest.

Oh, I have heard of its beauty, the girl assured him, I have heard of its majesty. I have heard of its treasures and expanse. I have heard of its tales and myths and legends. I have seen it pictured in books and paintings, in dusty old rooms and hidden away in linen closets. I have even seen its colors splashed on walls and floors, jagged and jilted on a background of grey.

Then you have seen a rainbow, the old man said in glee, You have witnessed its birth after a summer rain. Sometime late in the afternoon, after the showers and storms, there in the clearing sky, its sign and promise are viewed by one and all. It is seen and held close by all those who venture out-of-doors, to stare into the inviting sky to see the wonder of its vaults.

Yes, oh yes, the girl said in fainting breath, I have seen much of what you speak. But, I have seen it in its death. I have seen it cold and lifeless, faint and still, portrayed and drawn, sketched and imagined by artist and dreamer. I have seen it morphed and abused with haphazard strokes. I have seen it erased and dabbled on flimsy canvas; the very canvas they paint trees and slugs and mud and ruin. Yes, I have seen it thus.

But, even this is a gift, the old man retorted, Even this is a glimpse, a glimpse into the beauty of a fair rainbow beaming and arching across a storm shook, summer sky.

Perhaps, the young girl said in reply, Perhaps I have seen this and even more. Perhaps I have seen it greater still. Then, perhaps, I have seen nothing of it at all. Who can say? All I know is what I have seen with my own eyes in my young and tender years.

You would know, the old man said, standing and nodding his head, You would know if you had seen its vibrant spectacle on display. You would know if you would have seen its rich, glorious colors of red, orange, yellow and green. Colors of creation, colors of fire and dawning, colors of new life and spring. Colors that remind one of youth and innocence. 

Yes, the girl said wistfully, I do love those colors and more.

More, more you say, the old man said in passion, Yes, indeed, more indeed, more there is, this much is very true. If I did not know any better I would say you were an ancient muse, sent to wrestle my feelings from their long, settled sleep. More is right! Not only red and orange and yellow and green; but more still, blue, indigo and violet too. Colors of mood and ambiance. Colors of deep and distant, wild raging seas. Colors of spring and Easter morn. Colors that smell of fragrance and soft, sun-dried linens.

Yes, I can see those colors, the young girl said, I can see them all now, all together, all at once. I can see them arching in some far away sky, overhead, painted by unseen hand, just for my eyes. Yes, as sure as day, I can see them!

The old man took pause to stare at the innocence of the child. He smiled. He rubbed his chin and looked skyward. Hoping and wishing that some rainbow would magically appear across the dimming sky.

So too, the girl, enraptured by colors and thoughts of rainbows, stood staring overhead, whispering something under her breath.

Goodbye, now my dear, the old man said with a nod of his head, I hope you many returns from distant journeys. I pray your home is always in sight. I pray you safe harbor in the midst of life’s storms. I wish you companionship and wisdom and health. Above all, above even the greatest sympathies and delights of life, I wish for you to once, once and once only if destiny insists, to behold, with thine own eyes, in some storm perturbed sky, a rainbow arching clear and bold.

Thank you dear sir, the maiden replied, I wish you well in your own way. May you be blessed and happy over the rest of your days upon this earth. And may you witness that beauty once more, once only if the fates decide, to behold, with thine own eyes, in some stormed tossed sky, a rainbow arching and bowing resolute and strong.

And with fair wishes and kind farewells the old man and young maid went their separate ways, on their separate paths. Each looking skyward, each thinking of the other, each hoping to see one and both again.


Posted by on January 7, 2014 in Daily Prompt, Poetry and Creative Musings


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3 responses to “The Old Man and the Rainbow (A Parable of Sorts)

  1. Ramona

    January 8, 2014 at 11:59 pm



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