Yellow, Yellow, Yellow

19 Jun

Did Vincent Van Gogh see yellow because he took Digitalis to control bouts of epilepsy? It’s an idea I took from Ferrebeekeeper.


I like the William Carlos Williams explanation of xanthopsia.

A Love Song

What have I to say to you
When we shall meet?
I lie here thinking of you.

The stain of love
Is upon the world.
Yellow, yellow, yellow,

It eats into the leaves,
Smears with saffron
The horned branches that lean
Against a smooth purple sky.

There is no light—
Only a honey-thick stain
That drips from leaf to leaf
And limb to limb
Spoiling the colours
Of the whole world.

I am alone.
The weight of love
Has buoyed me up
Till my head
Knocks against the sky.  See me!

My hair is dripping with nectar—
Starlings carry it
On their black wings.

See, at last
My arms and my hands
Are lying idle.

How can I tell

If I shall ever love you again
As I do now?


Added as a postscript, on the fine recommendation of Dafna, who kindly reads:

17 Responses to “Yellow, Yellow, Yellow”

  1. Jena June 19, 2011 at 11:27 am #

    interestingly, in a note to this poem (which is called “A Love Song”) in his Collected, Williams says “I was thinking of Demuth’s picture of the sky over the horizon.” but which Demuth? would love to know…

  2. Margo June 19, 2011 at 11:41 am #

    The most gorgeous thing. Closest to Mandelstam I have read. In your debt again, Dzhen.

  3. jass57 June 19, 2011 at 2:27 pm #

    Hey, glad you are back with a beautiful posting. You’ve been on vacation; now keep on keepin’ on with more postings. We are counting on you.

  4. Philippe June 19, 2011 at 3:30 pm #

    Your return to blogging had been a consummation devoutly to be wished. Now, it has really happened. Oh joy.

    Do you think Van Gogh inspired:

    They call me mellow yellow
    (Quite rightly)
    They call me mellow yellow
    (Quite rightly)
    They call me mellow yellow……..

    Or perhaps Van Gogh was mad about saffron, rather than just plain yellow?

  5. Paul Costopoulos June 19, 2011 at 5:56 pm #

    How glad I am not to have taken you off my side bar. We all missed you.

  6. sledpress June 19, 2011 at 10:28 pm #


  7. Thomas Stazyk June 20, 2011 at 12:33 am #

    Great to have you back! Very interesting theory, but a special thanks for the fantastic pictures and the poem.

  8. jenny June 20, 2011 at 4:24 am #

    Thanks, everybody.

    WCW and VvG, what a combo, huh?

    Next week: EStVM and GO’K. (I’m kidding.) 🙂

    • dafna June 23, 2011 at 4:20 pm #

      purple AND yellow.

      my favorite artist and favorite colors together.

  9. Hieronymo June 20, 2011 at 5:13 pm #

    Your gallery of gorgeous glowing golden paintings is perfect for celebrating the summer solstice tomorrow. I’m glad you’re blogging again (and thanks for the link).

    • jenny June 23, 2011 at 9:53 pm #

      Thanks, Hieronymo. I like your blog, as you know.

      Summer solstice, indeed, but here in Chitown, it was not so much “yellow, yellow, yellow” and more like “the rain, it raineth every day.” 🙂

  10. dafna June 23, 2011 at 4:21 pm #

    • dafna June 23, 2011 at 4:22 pm #

      please allow embed or fix link to “yellow”.

      • jenny June 23, 2011 at 9:58 pm #

        Dafna! Hola guapa! (I’m all about Spanish these days.)

        Thanks for being in the spirit of the thing. I like Coldplay too. Hell if I know how to embed in comments, so I just added it to my post, giving you credit, naturalmente!

        I just watched it again. Thanks. That’s my mood. 🙂

  11. Chris June 23, 2011 at 7:22 pm #

    Hey Jenny!

    Thanks for thinking of me! I’ve been away, trying to survive … so far so good. This was the first William Carlos Williams poem I’ve ever read. I admit that poetry bewilders me. But “xanthopsia” is an awesome word.

    • jenny June 23, 2011 at 10:05 pm #

      Chris! Chris! You are well met! Don’t be such a stranger.

      It saddens me that poetry bewilders you. Come along, won’t you?

      I’m glad you’re surviving. I am too. We’re neighbors, you know?

      Dude, post something already…

      • Chris June 24, 2011 at 9:44 pm #

        Yes, I … I did read the WCW poem. I don’t know why, and this is not the first time I’ve thought about it, but poetry is just … completely impenetrable to me. And I have no where near any idea of where to start … unless it’s epic, come to think of it. But, I mean, that’s nearer narrative than contemporary poetry….

        Ha ha, I had discovered that we live pretty near each other, I forget when, but I was hesitant to mention it, for fear of seeming … creepy. I promise to post more so long as you do. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: