This poem was published by Stride Magazine in July 2017

Yellow and Orange

after Virginia Woolf’s ‘Blue and Green’


Strips of yellow issue through the window. Shadows cage the light. The yellow canaries – their shrill whistles – the baubles of lemon trees – yellow too; yellow petals almost transparent in the sun. But the sun settles on the wooden floor; the bars of yellow brick; the scarecrow waiting; straw protruding from a sleeve, a hat; the sack cloth; the heads of corn; the lion’s coat; his cowardice waiting further down the road. The sun is brushed aside; the gold lifted from its display case; the blond leaves the building. From another window, orange slices enter horizontal. The yellow’s off.


The burnt orange rooftops stretch and lay out before the amber sunset and below and in-between the river reflects orange until it is a rippling tiger stripe running through the city or a sheet of armour catching the orange and throwing it back out. Inside, the orange hair of Venus, mythological figures in the orange grove. Outside, bars and restaurants, the tips of cigarettes blaze orange in the slow darkening. The heat of summer rising above the flames of a house, still standing. Below, amongst fiery subterranean layers, the encountering of spirits donning orange-leaded cloaks.

© Vik Shirley 2017