Ears of Wheat, 1890
"I tried to paint the sound of the wind in the ears of wheat."
~Vincent Van Gogh, in a letter to Paul Gauguin
There is nothing here but wheat, no blade
too slight for his attention: long swaying
brush strokes, pale greens, slithery yellows,
the hopefulness of early spring. All grass
is flesh, says the prophet. Here, there are no
gorgeous azures stamped with almond blossoms,
no screaming sky clawed with crows, no sunflowers
roiling gold and orange, impasto thick as Midi sunlight.
His brush herringboned up each stalk, the elemental
concerns of sun, rain, dirt, while his scrim of pain receded
into the underpainting. He let the wind play
through the stems like a violin, turning the surface
liquid, a sea of green, shifting eddies and currents.
No sky, no horizon; the world as wheat.
This poem was first published in Barbara Crooker's book, Les Fauves.
A previous contributor to The Ekphrastic Review, Barbara Crooker's work has appeared in a variety of literary journals and anthologies, including Common Wealth: Contemporary Poets on Pennsylvania and The Bedford Introduction to Literature. She is the author of eight books of poetry; Les Fauves is the most recent. She has received 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. Her website iswww.barbaracrooker.com
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