poetry critical

online poetry workshop

Cyanosis (retitle test for Salloallegory)

In a former time in Liverpool
lived an assuredly little man
who ruled his life by an odd plan
of vivid color—oh, just one:
a yellow rule he used for truthing
beneath his sooted yellow roofing.
He married tints and tucked inside
a dainty footbound Chinese bride,
and kept one dog, and later, two
(Labradors run yellow too).
By nights for days
he watched and summed
the rising and the setting suns,
accounting that if each were gold,
he'd grasp for more, and less of soul.
The amberizing man grew rich
in sallow gold, to quell one itch,
propounding from his life's lapels,
and thumbs on those flaps hooked
his yell, "Lo!  It is sage to age
all seasons saffron."
His height increased,
though only sideways,
on suet with admixed annatto,
until the yellow Nile ran blue
(that is to say his liver's liquor
pooled and sank him ever sicker).
"When bile quits one must quit life",
he scratched to then-near-parchment
wife. "Yellow isn't and it was never
the brave man's hue for parting bids.
By God, I won't go, ever, not
until my humours all turn green
cheese, or the moon returns in
—oh ! suddenly I see.  At last,
the only color true, is b-blue",
coughed as he turned that phase,
and passed.

20 Feb 06

Rated 9 (6.9) by 2 users.
Active (2): 9, 9, 10
Inactive (9): 1, 1, 1, 6, 7, 9, 10, 10

(define the words in this poem)
(181 more poems by this author)

Add A Comment:
Enter the following text to post as unknown: captcha


trademark Netsky playful, winsome and witty, but I don't think you need to repeat yellow and its variations quite so often. A delightful poem
 — borntodance

This is very odd - I'm not sure about it at all - did he have a dying revelation that he was an Evertonian?
 — opal

This was such a fun read! wonderful
 — adiscodancer

thanks guys.  say, small fixes have been made.  
Here's a long-ish list to the historical references.
I like to footnote things to spark your imaginations
as well as my own.  All trails lead to your next poem.

Footnotes and links

the "golden lotus": footbinding, a one thousand year tradition
http://academic.brooklyn.cuny.edu/core9/phalsall/st udpages/vento.html


annatto: A natural vegetable dye used to give many cheese varieties, especially the Cheddars, a yellow-orange hue. Annatto is tasteless and is not a preservative.
www.leeners.com/ cheeseterms.html

Author notes: annatto was also the colorant for oleomargarines.
Margarine was a nineteenth century invention: a use for waste fat byproducts of the beef industry, in particular.  With the lack of pure food regulations, much chicanery in the industry resulted in conterfeit butters sold as genuine butter.  Regulations were made which stipulated that white oleomargarine -could not be tinted yellow- except by the end-user: the consumer himself.  To effect,  in practice, the consumer was provided a small packet of annatto colorant to admix, or not, with the margarine, as desired.  The separate dye-packet practice was current in the USA at least as late as about 1940 (recollection provided by an elder friend).

A mid (19th) century Scientific American magazine issue, in discussing the value of annatto as a dyestuff,  noted that it offers to  fabric a brilliant yellow color.  "However, a sun bonnet dyed anatto yellow will not retain the yellow  for even the length of one sunny morning in exposure, annatto having no light-fastness whatsoever".


# The term humour (it derives from Latin humor 'moisture'; hence humid) was used in the Middle Ages and during the Renaissance period - in the tradition of Hippocratic pathology and physiology - to denote the four humours of the body. These depended on the four fluids: blood, phlegm, yellow bile and black bile. The admixture or commingling of these determined a person's disposition, character, mind, morality and temperament. ...

http://en.wikipedia .org/wiki/Humours

http://www. obliquity.com/astro/bluemoon.html
 — netskyIam

Hi Opal.  You asked: This is very odd - I'm not sure about it at all - did he have a dying revelation that he was an Evertonian?
Well, you got me there.  I don't even know what "Evertonian" means (I'll look it up in a moment more).  I revised the poem to remove the British spellings and odder language because I realized: this Yank can't do accents well at all (grin, true).   The poem is simply a whimsy of allegorical import.  I don't think it's so -good- as it is really meant to be -fun- to read.  I hope the dense wordplay doen't get too much in its own way.   The title is particularly... annoying, lol!  Yes, I'm a teaser.   All there is to take from this is: the tale of fictional greed and shallowness fixated upon some single icon by which one might mis-guide his life.   It could be taken as anti-religion, in a very minor sense.  That wasn't on my mind, though.  Fun with words and color associations was the motivation.

Yellow crocodiles shed tears
for him somewhere down the River Nile.
 — netskyIam

I see now reid - it was I who misunderstood - forgive me - I'll explain soon - I think you'll be amused; you've created a real multi-layered and allusive allegory here - some of the allusions I think are unwittingly created, which makes it even more fun for the reader - excellent.

Best xx
 — opal

don't like the underlined or bold parts in the last stanza, too distracting, not very effective in emphasising.
 — inutile

and also what is with L40?
 — inutile

Dera Opal

He went from Tranmere Rovers to Everton but how he arrived is a complete mystery to me.
 — larrylark

small running edits are being made so various prior Line refs. may be obsolete in time.
Inutile, I the presently underscored words are done that way for verbal emphasis:  Lewis Carrol did the same so this is nothing new or really startling. I've de-bolded the "blue" cough for your objection to that is quite right.  If you read the poem aloud try to emit that final "blue" in the form of a little cough.  Now you see?  He died just after  he left his cirrhosis-yellow stage and went blue (anoxic).   I've put "and passed" on its own line, spaced down a bit in order to force a pause for comic effect.  After all, this is a whimsy and it's supposed to be droll, clever and not really sad to see the little guy go, is it?

Opal!  I never had a poem make the "recent best" list before.  
I feel... INFLATED.   (am just a jerk like always)
I'm dying to know how many inside references you glean from the poem.
I -think- I know all of them but you know, sometimes accidentals do find there way in: little lucky strikes of confluence.    The poem is quite irregular in form.  Some traditionalists tell me it should be reformed in genuine ballad form.  However, I think that would be fatal.  This poem is to be recited.  I like the swing and sway of real music: not dum de dum de dum all throughout a piece.  No metronomes for me here.  but the syllabic metre should be reasonably congruous within strophes.

thanks all- I'm a beginner in poetry.  there is no envy for top ten lists here or envy for a middle aged duffer knocking (usuallyu) other peoples balls about rather than his own.

 — netskyIam

Hi Netsky,

Fancy finding you in the top rated, quite a surprise.

However, I doubt if anyone has ever doubted your sense of humour, your sanity possibly, but never your sense of humour.

I like your rhythm pattern in this poem, just sufficently relaxed from a strict tempo to be more than just interesting.
It seems remarkable how you appear to capture the essence of a Liverpudlian Chinese gentleman so well.

I think the ending with regards to British ears, could be considered slightly weak, the obvious pun towards Everton did not materialise, but everything else seems to have that metaphoric allusion towards that imitable character that makes up the Liverpudlian.

The yellow Nile did not do a lot for me, despite it being blue.

I think you missed a chance to bring in the Huang He or the Hwang Ho, it being after all the cradle of Chinese civilisation.

Certainly one of most enjoyable poems I have read from you for a long time.

Liverpool’s china town has one of the oldest established Chinese communities in Britain, though they did suffered badly in the bombings of the 40’s when most of their traditional area was virtually razed to the ground.

Well done Netsky.


 — Mor

Hello Mor.  I did not know about Everton's colors or Everton nor did I know about Liverpool's Chinatown history.  I presumed there was a Chinatown there but I did not think of the little man as Chinese.  I thought him to be so fixated on the yellow, as to reject the notion of even marrying an Anglo woman.  Very good of you and all here to share your thoughts.  All are valid-enough conclusions: even the ones I had not intended.

thanks again,
 — netskyIam

 — aaaargh

Modded L1 and 2 from:

In the former life of Liverpool
there lived an assuredly little man
 — netskyIam

retouched with better line breaks and marks, and a couple of words were trimmed.
11 Sept. 07
 — netskyIam

http://en.wikipedi a.org/wiki/Cyanosis
 — netskyIam

making "b-blue" bold is annoying. It would be funny if you could make the text for just that word yellow.
Love the structure of this.
 — DeformedLion

I"ll de-bold blue.  For yellow, we must imagine.  Thank you Andrew.

 — netskyIam

Argh! You used my name...you...you impudent rat. No just kidding (not really).
don't do that. well only if you want to, you know, if you have  death wish...may Britney dance for you in He...ll.
Oh by jove I wish i was a turtle right....now.
yours, unfaithfully

 — DeformedLion

"Dear me!" cried Alice. "I only addressed you by your name you used in the message board not an hour ago."

"Yes, that's true, but don't ever do that!  Only myself calls me Andrew in public."

"Oh, so I see now," said Alice, relieved. "And who shall I call you in public, again?
"My name in public Michael."    

Alice thought, then spoke "Michael! Lovely!"

"No! Don't ever cal me Michael in private!  Michael is only my public name!"
 — netskyIam

ahhh...I see that you see whats true...you get it. You must be marginally more intelligent than Mr. Fosset.
9.,. so leave us alone.
Oh and Alice needs therapy...pronto. Too many Ricky Martin video clips I suspect.
Oh and I prefer the original title...more interesting.
 — DeformedLion