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.