Daily Sketch: Black is the Color…

marker sketch of cat looking out window
Giuseppe looks out the big north window toward the land of Kings by the Great River where lives his love.

Black is the color of my true love’s hair,

Her lips are like a rose so fair—

The sweetest face, and the gentlest hands

I love the ground whereon she stands…

I sing for my love in Kingston for she has moved with her mama to a new apartment and I have not heard word for nearly forever.

I look to the northwest through the green leaves of spring to the blue sky above, knowing that we share the same sky and the same sun.

I love my love and well she knows:

I love the ground whereon she goes,

I wish the day it soon would come

When she and I would be as one…

She of the wondrous hair.

And so I sing through the open window into the springtime and hope my song reaches my sweet precious sleek black belle femme Mademoiselle Daisy Emerald Marguerite from the Canadian town named for kings next to the great river. Somehow I know, though she be surrounded by eligible black cats who actually enter her home as guests, that she wants me to be her love!

I know that soon I will have a reply…

Catch up on the affaire between the young American cat, four-year-old Giuseppe Verdi, and his mature French-Canadian admirer, 12-year-old Mlle. Daisy Emerald Marguerite.

The lyrics to “Black is the Color of My True Love’s Hair” are traditional, arising from the Appalachian Mountains of Kentucky and first transcribed by John Jacob Niles in 1915, though the song form and the mention of the river Clyde likely refer back to Scotland, though there is no known form of the song in Scotland prior to the mid-twentieth century.

A few links to this song for those who asked.

The first version I every heard, by Joan Baez, still my favorite.

And a vintage version by an unknown group—please let us know if you recognize it.

And the Nina Simone version—a great melody can be owned by everyone.


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All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in purchasing one as a print, or to use in a print or internet publication.


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9 thoughts on “Daily Sketch: Black is the Color…

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  • May 16, 2012 at 2:06 pm

    kinda looks like I look when I sit in the entry at the front door, hanging with Nanuk, watching the front yard. Only my back is solid gray…but ya get the idea, huh?

    • May 16, 2012 at 2:28 pm

      Savannah, yes, kitties in silhouette are special no matter the color, it’s that wonderful shape that is so beautiful.

  • May 16, 2012 at 11:26 am

    For some unknown reason I just love the backs of black cats!! This, and the poem … so poignant 🙂

    • May 16, 2012 at 11:57 am

      Carolyn, so do I love them from the back, especially when they are singing to their love! This is actually a traditional Appalachian folk song, but it is apparently derived from a Scottish folk song because it mentions the river Clyde. Who knows how the songs changed as they traveled? It’s one of my favorites, from back in the day when I fell in love with a certain black cat…

      • May 16, 2012 at 12:09 pm

        And I just added a few versions of the song linked at the bottom.

        • May 16, 2012 at 4:39 pm

          Thanks Bernadette. Beautiful renditions. I feel I ought to know who the “unknown” band are. That, of the three, I think is my favourite 🙂

          • May 16, 2012 at 4:55 pm

            Carolyn, I like the “unknown” band too, especially the solo bridge and the overall length of the song. I always got the feeling that traditional songs were never performed just once but over and over with variations in the same way early classical music was. I have a few guesses on this group, if I figure it out I’ll let you know.

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