Thursday, July 14, 2016

Bright day of night, Provence

Ah, Sunflower!

Preparing for that presence, the pod
chose a man's height, set its cleats in the leaves
like a steeplejack, scribbled its target of ovals,
and rose to eye level.

Climbing a profile of gardens, a Nimzo-Indian
chessboard of vegetables, villages, rock with pollen
of lichen, the sunflower steadied its petals in zodiacal
yellow, and struck like a clock.

All the world's plenty, all the brazen particulars - a bull's eye
of seeds with the pips pointing down into chain-metal, an obsidian
disk bulging with roe like a carp - took on the hardness
of Chinese enamels

and opened its perfect meniscus. Then the terrible
heaviness began - the falling of bronzes, the hasp at the sunflower's
center breaking away, a fading of planets, eclipses, coronas,
the falling and falling away of the petals -

Time's total weariness, the terrible weight in the sun - all
that hammers at darkness and glows like the baize of the table
  Van Gogh
saw at Arles in the cornfields and candles, a madman painting the
  night till
the sky was delivered again to the crows.

Ben Belitt
The Double Witness
  Poems: 1970-1976
  Double Poem of the
  World's Burning
Princeton University Press, 1977©

Max Schoen

Negresco at night
14 July 2016
The New York Times©

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