Voices also told me to write
of the colour purple. In Steiner homes
for autists, rational but socially inept,
the corners of the rooms are round
and purple because it's less threatening
than the geometry of rightangled corners.
My room turned out a little like that when,
as my dying father lay in the attic,
my screen bloomed a numinous purple
light daubing the walls until
the bedroom, an anagram of boredom,
seemed like a featherlight love poem shop.
A little girl's lava lamp of a room:
sometimes the seeping foxglove aura
vacillated back and forth
between purple and its normal screen light,
refusing to settle for any long period of time.
My bro said I'd caught some virus;
the computer programmer down the pub
just said dying, and he was right,
for by the time Blue passed away,
Blue being the art-smuggling codename
dad used in his shady occupation,
the computer broke down.
R.I.P. data-tree, and farewell
luminous dark of half Denmark!
Now all I can think to say on purple
is this: I would put it in my mouth.
And I would chew on it like a cow
grazes on grass, mulchy and blind.
And I would ingurgitate it fully
not spit it out like a child his dummy.
I would taste it like her name.
It's the colour of mystery and sex
and saudade and longing and shame.
And it's the colour we associate with depth.
When I first looked at the colours of the vowels
I noticed the presence of its absence,
as if you'd expect it there because
it's the colour of deep things.

John Tucker
Cumbria 2016

If you have any comments on this poem, John Tucker would be pleased to hear from you.