I Shall Paint My Nails Red- Carole Satyamurti


Red Sunrise


Red is the color of fire and sunrise and rage and love and passion and beauty. Red is the color of blood, it is the rush of an emergency vehicle, the lust of passion for another person, the look in your eyes when you are angry, and red yes it is the subject of this poem. It is a change from the ordinary, a vibrant, powerful color, red streams through our veins and even throughout the world.

Carole Satyamurti wrote the poem, I shall paint my nails red. And it goes as follows,

I Shall Paint My Nails Red

Because of a bit of color is a public service.

Because I am proud of my hands.

Because it will remind me I’m a woman.

Because I will look like a survivor.

Because I can admire them in the mirror.

Because my daughter will say ugh.

Because my lover will be surprisesd.

Because it is quickyer than dyeing my hair.

Because it is a ten-minute moratorium.

Because it is reversible.

The color red inflicts so many different emotions and meanings and I think that is what Carole Satyamurti was trying to do with this poem. While it is written completely in free verse, you find yourself awaiting the next because, you want to know another reason her nails are painted red. Each reason is different than the one after and I think that this is because Satyamurti is trying to show how red can inflict all of these different emotions and how different character or different people can fit into each role. Proud of my hands, shows self confidence, a model or someone vein perhaps? You can even look at it as someone who has written many books or a famous seamstress they work with their hands often. I look like a survivor, I loved and let love then I moved on, or I was in a fire and  I came out a live. Whatever the reason the red symbolizes hope. American Red Cross perhaps? Because my daughter will say ugh? This one might be for a mother who is trying to please her daughter but knows that no matter what, her daughter will not think she is cool? All of the lines say something else and speak out to someone else but the last line relates to all. Because it is reversible. there are a lot of things in life that are irreversible, permanent if you may. But the last line allows us to relate for a change. It gives us the opporutnity to be one and show our flaws. It shows that each and every person is human and they are still able to make mistakes.


2 responses »

  1. I agree with you that red is a very powerful color that arouses many emotions. But what if she had chosen a different color, do you think that the tone of the poem would change? I also find that the woman of the poem feels like she has to define herself through relationships to other, or what other will think of her. I think she’s a little vain and wanting the ephemeral nature of her life to be defined through her relationship to others.

    • I think a different color would have evoked different emotions, still appealing to a variety of people. If you think about it the way I do, I see it as the color doesn’t matter because it applies to a whole variety of other people at the same time! I like the vain outlook you take of the woman, I can see that, and I can also see someone who just wants to fit in.

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