Nestled within

the Rainbow Mountain range,

there was a quaint little village 

that seemed quite strange.

All of the people 

that lived up that way,

were a thousand different 

shades of gray.

 

If you inspected them more closely, 

gray wasn’t quite right.

They each bared unique patterns 

of black and of white.

Plaids, stripes, zig-zags, 

splotches, and spots,

argyle, cross-hatched 

or stippled with dots.

Although each was a bit different, 

there was enough common in all,

that life in the center, 

was often quite dull.

The village was called Grayland 

and there lived the Grays,

and the place was rather uneventful 

most of the days.

It wasn’t always like this, 

the older Grays would say.

There used to be color, 

before all of this gray.

They’d tell of hues of blue, 

reds, and yellows so bright.

But it was regarded as legend 

from the black and the white.

 

They say they faded slowly, 

subtle changes over time;

they referred to the era 

as the Time of the Climb.

Their leaders once lived among them, 

accessible to each;

but slowly, so slowly, 

they moved out of reach.

 

Perhaps a bit of geography 

will help to understand;

to help form an image 

of the lay of the land.

Grayland sits in a valley, 

with peaks on each side,

But, that which defines them, 

also divides.

 

Both mountains are gray 

and close to the same height,

yet one’s called Mount Black, 

the other Mount White.

Despite the appearance 

of being mostly the same,

it’s the shades of the Grays there 

that give them their names.

 

The Grays that live up 

on the slopes of Mount Black,

bare darker shades there 

that the lighter ones lack.

And those that live opposite,

on the hill of Mount White,

are Grays whose shades 

are the lightest of light.

 

So, it happened within Grayland, 

as it happens about,

Despite all Grays being gray, 

a few filtered out.

Now the further from the center 

you’ll find the extremes,

with the grayest of the Grays 

living in between.

 

The Grays within Grayland 

are most of the extent,

with the Whites and the Blacks 

each a smaller percent.

Differences are small 

and similarities are large,

so it’s somewhat confusing 

that the extremes fell in charge.

 

Those in the center 

still got along just fine,

while those on the edges, 

built invisible lines.

Though Blacks and Whites 

would still mingle in town,

they’d return to their heights 

and from there, look down.

 

While the centered stayed centered,

the edges did climb,

the distance between them

increased over time.

Though the Grays were united

on one common plight,

anxieties began forming 

regarding the Black and the White.

 

They were not only different 

in the range of their shades,

they had very different ideas 

of how leaders were made.

They used very different methods 

to measure success,

and they both tended to cater 

to those with excess.

 

A hierarchy formed in Grayland 

among all the shades;

the high ones held the power 

from the station they’d made.

They each wrestled the power 

to choose who would lead,

yet they had opposite ideas

of what the Grays really need.

 

Whites and Blacks cast a shadow 

over the Grays down below,

and every few years, 

their power is shown.

They try to convince all the Grays 

they’re not really gray,

it’s only their black and white 

that make them this way.

 

They tear at the Grays 

and make them pick sides,

they tug at their loyalty 

and pry at their prides.

They argue and fight 

to convince them they’re right,

that the Grays are not gray; 

they’re Black or they’re White.

 

It ends often the same, 

they choose an extreme,

who promptly curdles 

the crop from the cream.

Whoever ends up winning: 

the Blacks or the Whites,

vilifies the other 

from their own separate height.

 

They take claim for the good, 

for bad they give blame,

and accuse from their mountain 

while fanning the flames.

Whites shout at Blacks.  

Blacks shout right back.

The Grays are then forgotten 

in these focused attacks.

 

Then one year, Grayland 

seemed exceedingly cursed,

when then rose to power 

the worst of the worst.

A Gray that was born 

in the heights of the White;

a powerful man wounded 

by the slightest of slights.

 

He disrupted the process 

of daily affairs.

Grayland was upended 

but he didn’t seem to care.

He pushed an agenda 

of distrust and of fear,

taking only advice 

from the man in the mirror.

 

He gathered around him 

those covetous of gold,

of esteem, of power, 

of influence to hold.

They began twisting the laws, 

rewriting the rules;

blaming the Blacks

playing Grays for the fools.

 

He was disliked by many 

when he first took control,

“But he’ll make us the best again,” 

Whites would extol.

“Give him a chance, 

just see what he can do,

you’ll learn to believe it,

if you watch news that is true.”

 

But the Grays began squirming, 

wondering each day,

what their leader would do 

and what he would say.

They wondered if someone 

was pulling his strings.

He relished in insult 

and doing terrible things.

 

He said mean things

and sought to divide

neighbor from neighbor;

to isolate sides.

He claimed to be the best,

the highest from the height.

Yet he delighted in confusing

the wrong from the right.

 

The neighbors of Grayland 

were thought of as friends,

but aligned with others, 

planning to defend.

They saw the new leader 

as a possible threat,

and he had the power 

to be the worst one yet.

 

They implored those in Grayland 

to rise up and fight;

to resist the new tyrant 

of the heights of Mount White.

“He does not share your values 

we’ve come to respect.

Our tensions have risen.  

We don’t know what to expect.”

 

“We value your friendship, 

your commerce and trade,

but you no longer value 

the agreements we’ve made.

We fear we may be forced 

to push you away,

despite the long history 

of us and the Grays.”

 

The Grays felt powerless 

as they looked up from below.

Unease and uncertainty 

continued to grow.

They began meeting in secret

in the dead of the night.

They found strength in each other, 

and talked of their plight.

 

A plaid woman spoke up,

“Today should be our day.

Let’s take back the power 

that was stolen from Grays.”

She heard much resistance 

from those that leaned white,

who covered their ears

and spitted in spite.

 

“It’s time to come together 

and demand a new way;

to find some new leaders 

that still see the gray.

We’re more in this together 

than we are apart.

Let’s embrace the values 

we share in our hearts.”

 

Defense of the leader ebbed 

as he spewed out new hate,

and more feared the future 

of a more divided fate.

Eventually those that defended

covered their face,

and the resistance grew stronger

at a much quicker pace.

 

Finally, came a day 

when the Grays said, “Enough!

We’re all getting sick 

of your gruff and your puff.

For much too long 

you’ve led us astray,

You see in Black and White, 

and ignore all the gray!”

 

The Grays said they 

would no more be ignored,

In secret they planned, 

in public they roared.

They let it be known 

that a change was about,

that the heights now in charge 

soon would be out.

 

Blacks and Whites conspired 

to work on a scheme,

a way to keep power 

and share it between.

But the Grays would not have it 

and they spoke as a whole,

“Today we rise up 

and take back control!”

 

The Grays pushed forward 

and marched up the heights,

half up Mount Black, 

the other, Mount White.

They pushed the extremes 

to the top of the ledge

and with one final push, 

found the end of the edge.

 

They routed from power 

all from the heights,

they erased the lines drawn 

by the Blacks and the Whites.

The Grays raised the heights; 

pulled them all down,

and set up a new system 

in the center of town.

 

The woman that had nurtured 

the rise of the Grays,

was loaned the trust 

of the people that day.

To ensure all were included 

in the power to steer,

They formed a committee 

of every veneer.

 

The new government was not made

of Black and of White;

every shade and every pattern

was asked to unite.

They abandoned the heights 

and built a new town hall,

to make their new leaders 

accessible to all.

 

The town hall was fitted 

with only glass walls,

with plenty of doors 

and windows in all.

They listened much more 

and talked a lot less,

and asked about problems 

of Grays to address.

 

Discussions were open 

so the Grays could all hear,

voices were welcomed 

from far and from near.

Bribes and special interests 

were pushed far away,

and the leaders returned 

to leading for Grays.

 

Simple rules were the rule, 

complicated were opposed:

If one cut the cake, 

the other one chose.

Before you judge others, 

put a mile in their shoes,

And do unto others 

as they’d do unto you.

 

It wasn’t always perfect, 

there were bumps on the way

but Grayland was focused 

on maintaining the gray.

When those spoke up 

with ideas thought extreme,

they invited debate 

from Grays in between.

 

With the gloom of the shadow 

gone from above,

Grays found more reasons 

to respect and to love.

They found more similarities 

that everyone bared,

and found their differences

as strengths to be shared.

 

As they focused on the middle, 

the median, the mean,

it didn’t take long 

for hints of change to be seen,

It was subtle at first; 

tints, glimmers and hues,

then came sparks of greens, reds, 

violets, and blues.

 

Grayland blossomed in color 

in a matter of days;

purples, oranges, and yellows 

replaced all the grays.

The colorful patterns 

made everyone unique;

not a single Gray was gray 

by the end of the week.

 

In name they’re called Grays, 

but they’re no longer gray;

but, a rainbow of colors, 

and patterns on display.

They hold value in everyone, 

they respect what each say,

And they’re now more united

in the fading of gray. 

 

Nestled within 

the Rainbow Mountain range,

there’s a quaint little village 

that managed to change.

They still call it Grayland 

and they’re still called the Grays,

but they’re all very different

and prefer it this way.