There is beauty in stripes

by Alison Riley

I am thankful for striped things –
   For rainbow socks and banded jeans;
      For tiger cushions and zebra-print bags;
The intonation of light and dark;
   For clouds that filter sun-rays onto mountains;
      For never missing a chance to be on telly.

Stripes can be taken
   From a pocket, reached for like a gun,
      Sat on, slept in, under, on top of. Some, born
Grand, hopelessly romantic at heart, love their
   Own take on things or grow cynical.
      Some have happy memories attached;

Others correspond, have
   Had money thrown at them, cash settled
      On them. Regional variations apply –
Some are disadvantaged, compete for
   Attention, have more responsibility
      Than others. Some play rugby.

Stripes make a habit
   Of repeating themselves, go on
      Ad infinitum, distinguish art and ordinary things:
Tree rings, traffic cones, wrapping paper. Hear
   Rainbows jangle as light splits through
      Water; the art is to notice.

Stripes take up
   The mantle of a generation, punch
      Above their weight, can be controversial,
Original, regal, shock, conform. They can be
   Aspirational: aim for the stars.
      Others never get off the ground.

There are those that
   Are more influential than gold medals.
      Certain ones have an instinct for satire,
Some are able to reincarnate themselves.
   Their power is in shifting perspectives,
      There is beauty in stripes.