Yellow: Poems Inspired by Color

Photo by Maria Orlova on

Back to the color poems! I began my yellow sonnet meditating on the word itself. What if yellow were a greeting? What if it was a command? Then I considered all the things I associate with yellow such as warning signs, yellow jackets, lemons, old lace, egg yolks, and even the less savory uses of the word in racial slurs, sensationalism in journalism, cowardice, and the use of the Star of David to label Jews, which led to the horror of concentration camps and mass genocide. What could possibly tie all of these disparate images together?

Fourteen lines, iambic pentameter, and a mix of two popular sonnet forms, fusing the rhyme scheme of Shakespeare with the turning point of Petrarch. These are my yellow meditations.

Yellow Meditations (A Sonnet)

Vincent H. Anastasi - 2021

Be not alarmed: this is no warning sign,
No caution posted to prevent your doom,
But simple, "Yes, Hello!" contracted twined:
The greeting voiced when entering a room;
Nor should you fear the sudden stripéd sting,
The blind foot knocking at the jacket's door.
Yell, "Oh!" when pain finds voice and let it sing;
You shall not be censured nor just ignored.

Yet still the aging hue must give me pause
For I have tasted bitterness in fruit;
I've worn the yolk that broke in mischief's cause
And heard the racial slurs they toss at you.
So do not paint me with sensation's brush
Nor coward live in silent yellow's blush.

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