Poems from the Color Wheel

The Emperor of Purple


The Emperor wrapped in his purple robe

Nods on his porphyry throne.

His golden thrush sings his deeds

With a whirl of wheels and precious stones.


Plums in an amaranthine bowl glow in the dark,

Trophies of wars with Red and Blue

And the unforgivable defection of Maroon

In the last of the Battles of Hue.


The Emperor broods on his porphyry throne.

Another threat lurks on his southern frontier.

The Viceregent of Violet demands submission

And makes her claim to legitimacy clear.


His half-sisters Mauve and Puce are weak

And pose no threat to his crowned head.

But her bloodline is pure, the uncontested heir

Of ancient lines of Blue and Red.


Purple, he fears, is a balkanized state

Surrounded by large and  powerful foes,

Violet’s more vibrant, saturated, deeper in tone,

Superior forces ready to go.


But the Emperior of Purple will not submit.

He has control of the ultimate source:

Sidon and Tyre where the shells of snails

Pile up on the sandy shore.

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