L'EXPOSITION DES COULEURS (AFTER JEAN ROBERTET [? - 1503])
BY RYAN WHYTE
I among all colours am the first.
I signify humility and simplicity,
Of flowers the white lily is mistress:
Holy Scripture declares full faith to it.
And I who am of celestial colour,
Of which fine azure has its prize and esteem,
Signifying loyalty for highest of birth,
In debt to white for neighbor's right.
Red owes not even the least to the other colours
Of its reputation, because its shows victory,
Pomp, pride, arrogance, vainglory:
Who can not be both high and low does not want to descend.
I who am grey signify hope,
Middle colour of white and black mingled,
Be I alone or with another assembled,
I keep the middle in common moderation.
Resembling the emerald, precious,
Delighting in perfect verdure;
Ill at ease with colour of black
And I belong only to joyous persons.
Of red and white, intermingled together,
To the marigold my colour resembles
Who enjoys love does not worry
Because he can wear me as please him.
I am of black and red composed;
So I am called the colour violate
Clothed in it was the traitor Gannellon,
Of which by the world am I still dishonoured.
BY LUIS CABALQUINTO
With all the lights out, the house
takes on the color of buffalo fur.
It's almost totally quiet, the others
gone out to a party or some other
unreported nightly business.
Shut your eyes tightly: listen to the low
whirr of the midnight city outside --
a hum that seems to issue from
beyond the reach of the farthest discovered
planet, like a coded message from the outermost edge.
You feel weightless in the wooly dimness,
buoyed by the care and clarity of your thoughts.
It's like being on a huge stage for an opening season --
this self-knowing intoxication that, in its excess,
admits to dark undertones -- from being humanly born,
from having too often badly lived.
But taut moments like these grow impatient
with negations and encourage the mind to indulge
in the night's exuberant languages.
And, as you choose, the body inebriates
itself into the most intense dialect.
The mind and the body couples, the self aligns
with the hum of the room that enlarges into
the larger rooms of the galaxies: like the
orchid bud at your window, swollen and opening.
In the whirring dark, the self's full flowering
is once more providentially approached.