Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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Poem: "The Coloring of Eggs"

This poem is spillover from the August 2, 2016 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by prompts from [personal profile] chanter_greenie, [personal profile] society_of_antisocialites, and LJ user Paantha. It also fills the "education" square in my 8-1-16 card for the Character Building Bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored out of the general fund. It belongs to the series Frankenstein's Family.

"The Coloring of Eggs"

When Easter came,
Victor and Igor were
surprised to see people
painting eggs by hand
instead of dyeing them.

The designs were intricate
and beautiful, but too hard
for children to manage.

The boys and girls
just stood and watched.

"That's not much fun," said Igor.
"Let's make our own eggs."

"How can we do that?"
asked Crina. "Mama says
I'm still too little to paint eggs."

"Ah, there are many other ways
to color eggs than with paint,"
Victor said with a smile.

So they gathered up
hibiscus tea, green tea
red and yellow onion skins,
the juice from pickled beets
and purple grape juice.

They put those in pots
to boil with the eggs.

Crina said, "There is
canned red cabbage.
Would that do the trick
that I saw in the book?"

"What book?" Igor wondered.

"I have a list of Easter egg dyes
tucked into an herbal," Victor said.
"Go ahead and try it, Crina."

Then Igor wanted to try
a marbling technique that
he'd heard about from
some tea merchant.

For that he brought
black tea and green tea,
turmeric, paprika, dill seeds,
and a bottle of red wine.

Carefully he crackled
the shells of boiled eggs
before soaking them in dye.

Victor showed the children
how to press leaves or flowers
onto the eggs and wrap them
in cheesecloth before soaking
the eggs with onion skins.

That gave Tivador the idea
to wrap his eggs in pieces of
differently colored onion skins.

Those came out like patchwork quilts.

Ágota made particolored eggs
of her own in different ways.
Some she put into shallow cups
to dye one half and then the other.
Some she dyed in a pale color
and then changed to a darker one.

She also blended things,
like red and purple grape juice
which came out a murky mauve,
or parsley flakes and dried violets
that yielded a cloudy teal.

"Your colors are funny,"
Tivador said to her.

"I don't care," said Ágota.
"I like the between colors."

"Tivador, be polite," Igor said.
"Let Ágota choose her own colors."

Then Victor noticed that Crina
was taking out one egg at a time,
every few minutes, instead of
removing them all at once.

She placed them in an egg tray,
still in order. The first one was
nearly white, the second pale blue,
and the third almost turquoise.

"What are you doing?" Victor said.

"I wanted to see what it would
look like over time," Crina said.

Victor hadn't expected her
to turn a holiday activity into
a science experiment, but
that was all right.

He fetched a pen and
a piece of paper. "Here,"
he said. "Write down what
you are doing so that you
can do it again if you wish."

"I don't know all the words,"
Crina said, slumping.

Victor clucked his tongue
at her. "So?" he said.
"Draw it instead, if you like.
I will help you with the words."

So Crina sketched and
Victor helped her write,
periodically stopping
to remove another egg.

By the time they were done,
she had a dozen shades
from fog to sapphire.

"That's impressive,"
Igor said as he sat
peeling the shells off
of the eggs that he had
dyed with tea or spices.

The cracked shells had
let the dye seep through,
leaving marbled lines.

"Very nice," Victor said.

"I'll just set these aside
for the adults," Igor said,
sorting out the ones he
had soaked in wine.

"I imagine those will be
popular," Victor agreed.

"Could I get that recipe?"
Dénes the brewer asked.

"Yes, of course," Igor said,
and explained the process
to his eager student.

"That will make celebrations
more interesting," Victor said.

They hadn't expected to see
scientific method weaving its way
into people's everyday lives, but
it made them happy to realize

how much of a difference they made here.

* * *


The Coloring of Eggs
-- Easter Sayings

Romanian Easter eggs are painted rather than soaked in dye. Watch a video of the process.

There are many natural ways to decorate Easter eggs. Here are some lists of natural Easter egg dyes. Read instructions for ombre Easter eggs, tea-infused Easter eggs, flower or leaf imprints, and onionskin wraps.
Tags: cyberfunded creativity, family skills, fishbowl, holiday, poem, poetry, reading, science, science fiction, weblit, writing
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