WRITTEN FOR A VAN GOGH PAINTING

image

In our vista, love argues with nature.

The long look begins with you.

Everything that belongs to a view

Begins with your eyes—a looking which love longs to look at, too.

Love begins with a looking heart,

And if the view expands, and love gets as far as art,

Love resembles those paintings which fulfill

Every standard of beauty, they are so beautiful.

 

To be caught in paintings,

Framed by the foreground’s overhanging leaves,

Green and brown undulant hills in the background—

Would you like to be in a Van Gogh painting?

Is a love a love which always has to be?

Always spies the eye which this vista found?

Even as identity is a sameness which grieves?

 

If love must be love, which always must be,

So the lover can always know you—

Half-way between here and there,

He will always be late as he comes past each door.

And there: far in the distance are smudges: the poor

Who live poorly, and do not love anymore.

 

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7 Comments

  1. maryangeladouglas said,

    September 15, 2015 at 4:10 am

    This is an entirely beautiful poem;I read it that way. The perfection of art becoming, itself, love, perhaps what the painting itself longed to be in the viewers (in the case of Van Gogh, though, perhaps an imaginary viewer). Anyway. I am happy to still be on the earth and read this poem newly arrived on earth, but from where? That’s the mystery too. But who cares finally. The main thing is this poem now exists.

    Here’s a poem I just wrote (it woke me up with its first stanza as if I saw it on a blackboard in my mind and that never happened that way before).

    Oh World Where It Often Happens

    oh world where it often happens
    the fairytale’s bitten off at the stem
    so that it can

    no longer flourish or
    the rainbow bales are pitched
    too far from here

    so that the horses cannot feed
    and run away
    and we must run after them

    coaxing them back with impossible apples
    all made of gold enwrought of former
    happiness ah

    tilted moons over the village
    and lilacs all afternoon
    we watched you blown in

    a silver wind and all this
    even without pretending!
    will it not come to pass

    then sighed the older child
    the older man, alas,
    the lady with one rubied shoe

    at last at the last
    sunset hour
    where it still might all happen anyway…

    I can’t say otherwise

    mary angela douglas `14 september 2015

    • maryangeladouglas said,

      September 15, 2015 at 4:14 am

      oops. wrong date on the poem. it was the 15th when I woke up but I wasn’t in the land of clocks anyway, that much.

  2. thomasbrady said,

    September 15, 2015 at 6:32 pm

    Mary Angela Douglas! You write such exquisite lines!

    “coaxing them back with impossible apples”

    “tilted moons over the village and lilacs all afternoon”

    And only you, I think, would write:

    “at last at the last sunset hour”

    At last at the last

    Thank you.

    • maryangeladouglas said,

      September 16, 2015 at 6:33 am

      You are welcome, Thomas Graves. I hope you live to be a 100 and write every possible and impossible poem possible and impossible that is in you. I hope to do the same. In poetic hope and CONTINUANCE…Mary Angela Douglas

  3. maryangeladouglas said,

    January 8, 2016 at 3:54 am

    VAN GOGH IN THE PHOTOGRAPH, OUTSIDE THE FRAME

    [for Amanda Sullivan]

    he will draw in charcoal on the evening,
    stairs, and carry an easel with him anywhere
    to capture clouds, the stars,

    to trace the air
    the twilight something as it alters
    what he can hardly bear

    except he tries not to think about it.
    this is the portrait I would make;
    the picture I would take of him

    if only he could hold still.
    but he, like music. is distilled
    beyond our reach

    and wouldn’t show up in the picture
    easily or if he did, like a sunflower, prayer,
    it would be uncomfortable

    for the rest of them
    with that marble blue stare.

    mary angela douglas 7 january 2016

  4. noochinator said,

    March 1, 2016 at 2:52 pm

    I had to share this image of a painting, not by Van Gogh but so lovely nonetheless — it’s titled “Miss Jane Bowles” and was painted by Joshua Reynolds:

    Theodore Dalrymple wrote about this painting, ‘It avoids sentimentality because it represents not the whole of reality but of an undoubted aspect of reality—which delights us unless we are wholly soured by life, for children really do have soft skin, bright eyes, a trusting manner, and pleasure in life—but also because the sensitive viewer is only too aware that what is depicted is but fleeting, that Miss Bowles will grow up and face many sorrows, that the dog will age and cease to be so important to her, and that she will never again be so charmingly innocent: “Ay, in the very temple of delight/Veil’d melancholy has her sovereign shrine.” Our delight is thus tempered by an awareness that, like all delight, hers must decay.’

    http://www.city-journal.org/2016/26_1_art.html

    • thomasbrady said,

      March 1, 2016 at 8:54 pm

      Yes, nice. I can see the awareness of ‘decay’ in the dark woods behind the child, the hard grip on the dog, and the sense the dog will try to escape, and the child’s face, lovely and innocent but also with a touch of knowing impishness. Lovely. And the Keats’ quote. Great.


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