The Color Rhyme

With Lewis Carroll being in my mind, as well as Dr. Seuss, several years ago in 2003, I wrote my little “Color Rhyme” below hoping to assist my students. I hope you enjoy it, and feel free to share it! (This is the latest version.)

Cyan, Magenta and Yellow are the three primary colors of pigments, used in printing everything in color, just about. (Black ink, the “K” component of “CMYK”, is also used — as a way to save on using colored inks when greys are needed.)

Red, Green and Blue are the primary colors of light that your RGB computer monitor and TV set use to create all the colors you see there, and are the light primaries used by your eyes to interpret all colors.

How pigments work with “white” light to produce color is what this rhyme is about!

The Color Rhyme
(Starring Inks: Cyan, Magenta, Yellow (and BlacK); and Lights: Red, Green and Blue!)

By Terry Leigh Britton

Red light is all right
And Green light can be bright
And Blue light sure is Blue
But what’s that mean to you?

Well, if covered with ink
It just might make you think
About Red Green and Blue
And what’s got onto you!

I mean C-M-Y-K
In the light of the day
Reflect Red, Green or Blue
But they soak in some, too!

Now let’s talk about Green
Which we all here have seen:
How’d that get here alone
To excite rod and cone?

Well, some Yellow ink took
All Blue light like a crook
And sent out Green and Red…
But it slept in a bed

With Cyan, now you see –
As it happened to be,
Which ate up all the Red.
They’ve reflected instead

What was left, which was Green
Which is what you had seen:
Red and Blue light were et!
And so green’s what you get.

Magenta with Cyan
Soaks as much as they can
Of both Red light and Green
And Blue light is what’s seen.

And Magenta with Yellow
Will eat up every fellow
Except Red light, you see.
That’s reflected to thee.

Now let’s talk of Cyan:
Soaks as much as it can
Of Red light but yo-ho
Green and Blue light must go!

Green and Blue strike the eye
And the rods and cones try
To explain to the brain
“That’s Cyan, ain’t that plain?!”

Green and Blue light will mix
And among their “cool” tricks:
Work together they can
So that we see Cyan!

Yellow ink, it eats Blue,
Then reflected to you
Is pure light red and green
And so that’s what you’d seen!

Red and Green light makes Yellow!
Green and Blue light, we see, Oh!
That they make Cyan,
Just as well as they can!

And Magenta, it too
Will eat Green, but not Blue
And not Red, so those two
Are reflected to you.

So Magenta, you see,
Blue and Red light will be
Via eye and the brain
(Though that sounds quite insane!)

“So the Blue and the Red
Made Magenta!” I’d said,
Though ‘twas in the mind’s eye
In the brain, by and by
Where these colors occurred –
But of this be assured:

– With light you see a lot
Yet in darkness, you are not!
(… Definitely not!)

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