The Flowering Orchard, 1888
"Nature here is extraordinarily beautiful. Everywhere and over all the vault of the sky is a marvelous blue, and the sun sheds a radiance of pale sulfur that is soft and lovely. What a country!"
~letter to the artist's brother, Theo
There’s a rake resting against a tree,
and it looks like its teeth have combed
the landscape, straightened out the unruly
grass, the wildflowers, the trees in the distance,
making orderly parallel lines. But the orchard
itself is in the middle ground: wild diagonals,
flailing limbs, branches this way and that. A metaphor,
perhaps, for how nature resists pruning, trimming,
reverts to the old ways. In the canopy, the foliage,
tender shades of early spring, refuses to be delineated,
goes for the blur. A scythe is wedged in the crotch
of the largest tree, pointing toward earth. The sky’s
pale luminescence, like butter, spreads over everything,
the eternal sunshine of an April day. What a country
indeed. I want to be bathed in this radiance,
live here in a corner of the picture, raise
my face to the glow like the overhead light
in my mother’s kitchen, and never grow old.
This poem is from the author's book, Les Fauves, C&R Press, 2017.
Barbara Crooker is a poetry editor for Italian-Americana, and has published eight full collections and twelve chapbooks. Her latest book is Les Fauves (C&R Press, 2017). She has won a number of awards, including the WB Yeats Society of New York Award, the Thomas Merton Poetry of the Sacred Award, and three Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Creative Writing Fellowships. A VCCA fellow, she has published widely in such journals as Nimrod, Poet Lore, Rattle, The Green Mountains Review, The Denver Quarterly, and The Beloit Poetry Journal. website: www.barbaracrooker.com
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