When springtime sunbeams stream on
soft boiled yolks we know we are between
green and orange. Before all other colours
we pick you out yelling the origin of your name.
Bright. Conflicted. Harmony and warning
wrapped into one everlasting opposition.
Ancient gods with their skin and bones
yellowing with eternity. Capes of heretics.
Badges of knowledge. Badges of persecution.
Exclusion. Undying dying. Bile and gall.
Sick and bold. Jaundiced. Spontaneous. We
eat your wisdom. Go bananas with chromoplast.
Xanthophyll. Tartrazine. Shadeless turmeric.
In a dark corridor I study a delicate block of native
sulphur. Low-glowing brimstone. Lemony.
A gathering of English primroses. Morning urine.
Whatever binds this colour to our eyes and hearts
we cannot part its salve and sting of ambivalence.
Listen to Geraldine Monk reading this poem on location in Sheffield:
This is the fifth of six sonnets to be uploaded as part of The Rose of Temperaments. A ‘variant’ text, with additional input from Helen Mort, appears here.