Allegory in Colours
Long ago in Liverpool
lived an occidental little man
who ran his life by an odd plan
of vivid colour—oh just one—
a yellow rule he used for truthing
beneath a sooted yellow roofing.
He married tints and tucked inside
a dainty foot-bound 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 either that—or soul.
The little man aged on enriched
on yellow stuff to quell an itch—
propounding from his life's lapels
where thumbs on those flaps
hooked his yell
"Lo! It is sage to age
all seasons saffron."
His height increased
but only sideways
on suet with admixed annatto
until his 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
a brave man's hue for last retreats.
By God I won't
go ever. Not
till my humours turn
g r e e n c h e e s e
—or the moon returns in—oh!
suddenly I see! At last
the only colour true is
as he turned that shade and passed.