In the Days When Purple Was New
Neverless, the Doge must have thrilled, filling his purple vestments,
As he entered that dazzling morning to marry the Adriatic.
Imagine the shock of that first raiment
(Stolen, in a way, from the sea itself)
To the shining water and the expectant crowd.
Down by the branch, grass
darkens the same color Charlemagne had
his Irish scholars dye their pages for
jewelled lettering to play on like cities
in the desert sky.
Purple, the royal color, makes me happy. I love these passages from poems that show it in all of its regal splendor and gladness, like a fanfare of trumpets in Mozart—a celebration, a robing of kings, an alchemy (miracle, even) when first the color was extracted from mollusks, sea snails, in ancient times by the Phoenicians, the name Phoenicia meaning land of purple.
What it would be to live in a land of purple, with those Irish scholars and the Doge, and my jaunty—gentile—flowers from last summer.