A poem from ‘Sunspots’ by Simon Barraclough

Violet violent as an ‘ultra’
or inviolate as a saint?

The reverbs from a viola
playing purple passages.

A Parma Violet on your tongue,
like the contents of your grandma’s handbag,

reminding you that childhood
is neither sweet nor sour

and never tastes quite right;
the elusive umami of mommy and daddy.

A triolet seems apposite
but th’imperial cloak

will not be hemmed by this pattern,
will not colour inside the lines.

Better daub the darkness of caves,
mumble morosely in mauve,

crack the shells of sea snails,
extract some unseeable snaily gland

and set its juice in the Sun’s rays,
for UV maybe to make violet.

Who thinks of these things?
Who knew you could eat a sea urchin?

Violet guards one border of the visible,
scans your retina, takes your inky prints

and lets you pass.
I could write a book about violet.
Simon Barraclough is the author of Los Alamos Mon Amour, Bonjour Tetris, Neptune Blue and, most recently, Sunspots. He has just spent a year as poet in residence at UCL’s Mullard Space Science Laboratory and is about to begin touring his multi-media show Sunspots, which features film, music, and songs as well as poetry.