Friday, March 28, 2008

Poetry Friday - Celebrating Van Gogh

Sunday is the 155th anniversary of Vincent Van Gogh's birthday. In honor of his work, I am sharing this poem by James Magorian. It was first published in the Summer 2001 issue of The Literary Review.
The Wheatfield of Van Gogh
by James Magorian

The wheat is lifted, bent back like a trapdoor,
a searching, sweet reek of the past:
the paths--wet sticks poked into a fire--
hunter's bread, howl of flowers,

the earth red where the angelus bell is buried:
bright sorrow, light rattling
on the crooked stairway to the cloud-orchard,
that wheat, dependable chaos, ripening,

(stem rust, cutworms, 20 bushels an acre?),
that wheat, held open, scold
of color--whooping it up to no avail--
one torment like any other,

the body (a century of dark cellars,
all the hours huddled at the end of the day)
remembers, deepens, what is left
in dreams, desperate in an ashy intention,

that wheat, a warding off (time, pout of desire),
gruff yellow, molten oddities,
finished things, denials--the crows departing,
one field like any other.

Copyright 2001, Fairleigh Dickinson University. All rights reserved.
The round up this week is being hosted by Gina over at Cuentecitos. Do stop by and take in all the great poetry being shared. Before you go, don't forget to check out this week's poetry stretch results. Happy poetry Friday, all!


  1. What a series of bold brushstrokes this poem is---just like vanGogh. Makes me want to run look at the painting.

  2. Wow, this one bears repeated reading. A 'howl of flowers?' 'Dependable chaos?' 'Ashy intention,' all lovely and strange and twisting through my cerebellum. Like this.

  3. So rich and dense, putting me through mental calisthenics. Happy Birthday Vincent!

  4. I had to read this one a couple times; for the music and to sort out the tumble of images. Great!

  5. Wow! I love the first line,

    The wheat is lifted, bent back like a trapdoor,

    because of the immediate picture in my mind...I do like this poem.

  6. The repetition of "that wheat" keeps bringing the poem back around, like a refrain, even though it isn't one. Such a great device.

    And the line "finished things, denials -- the crows departing". *swoon*

  7. One field like any other...
    that is just plain lovely, isn't it?