Poem of the Week, by Darrell Bourque

IMG_E4567Last week I stood reading Vincent Van Gogh’s letters to his brother Theo. Back then the mail came two or three times a day, sometimes overnight from Paris to Amsterdam or wherever Vincent was living: the yellow house in France, the room in his parents’ house where he would sometimes retreat, from behind the barred window of the asylum where he committed himself.

The great love between the brothers was clear. So was Vincent’s belief that art would save him from the anxiety and despair that overwhelmed him. In the seventy days before he shot himself, he made seventy-five paintings filled with light, and sun, and the brilliant colors he loved and made his own.

Self-portraits filled one whole room of the museum. In each, his blue eyes shone out at me. They must have shone out at him, too, in the moment he painted himself. When I walked out into the Amsterdam afternoon, I thought of this poem.


      – Darrell Bourque

We’re all extensions
          of someone or another’s
                     golden light.

In the moment
          I was made
                     stars filled the sky

& some parts
          of the bodies
                     making me

were fleetingly
                     briefly luminous.

Druids see light
          in wood
                     and worship trees.

When we wave
          in recognition,
                     we disperse light,

set light in motion
                     the beloved.

We string our trees
          with lights
                     in wintertime.

We want
          to see ourselves
                     in the dark.


For more information on Darrell Bourque, please click here.



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