We Did Not Dye In Vain! Poem by Michael Burch

We Did Not Dye In Vain!

we did not Dye in vain!
by michael r. burch

from "songs of the sea snails"

though i'm just a slimy crawler,
my lineage is proud:
my forebears gave their lives
(oh, let the trumps blare loud!)
so purple-mantled Royals
might stand out in a crowd.

i salute you, fellow loyals,
who labor without scruple
as your incomes fall
while deficits quadruple
to swaddle unjust Lords
in bright imperial purple!

Originally published by The American Dissident

Notes: In ancient times the purple dye produced from the secretions of purpura mollusks was known as Tyrian purple, royal purple and imperial purple. This dye was greatly prized in antiquity and was very expensive, according to the historian Theopompus: "Purple for dyes fetched its weight in silver at Colophon." Thus, purple-dyed fabrics became status symbols, and laws often prevented commoners from possessing them. The production of Tyrian purple was tightly controlled in Byzantium, where the imperial court restricted its use to the coloring of imperial silks. A child born to the reigning emperor was "born to the purple" because the imperial birthing apartment was walled in porphyry, a purple-hued rock, and draped with purple silks. Royal babies were quickly swaddled in purple; we know this because the iconodules, who disagreed with the emperor Constantine about the veneration of images, accused him of defecating on his imperial purple swaddling clothes!

Thursday, August 8, 2019
Topic(s) of this poem: lord,master,purple,royalty
Jane Campion 08 August 2019

A fasciating poem. Many thanks for your helpful comments.

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