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What is Pink?

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Have fun with the poem by trying this...


Look at the questions the poet Christina Rossetti asks about each colour. How many are there?

Each answer starts on the same line as the question, for example, "What is pink?" and then "A rose is pink". But each answer carries on into the next line, taking us on a little imaginary walk outside into the world of nature.

When you perform the poem aloud, give your listeners time to absorb all the descriptions and imagine the natural world. Pause after the question - and don't rush the answers!

The last two lines are a little different. Christina Rossetti invites us to enjoy some jokey wordplay about the fact that the word orange is both a colour and a fruit. Practise how you finish your performance so that your listeners 'get' the joke!

What other answers could you give to the poet's questions? For example, in answer to the question ‘What is blue?’, what else could you say? Rewrite the poem with the same questions, but your own answers.

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What is pink? A rose is pink
By the fountain’s brink.
What is red? A poppy’s red
In its barley bed.
What is blue? The sky is blue
Where the clouds float through.
What is white? A swan is white
Sailing in the light.
What is yellow? Pears are yellow,
Rich and ripe and mellow.
What is green? The grass is green,
With small flowers between.
What is violet? Clouds are violet
In the summer twilight.
What is orange? Why, an orange,
Just an orange!

What is Pink?

by Christina Rossetti