Staring out these sockets
at the dark spring green deep in this leaf,
its moist ribs limning morning light,
I weep for what I must have missed
swimming as I was through life
while thinking I was dry,
oblivious to the wealth of wet,
the sheer depth of extravagance
beneath the surfeit sky.
I would cry now if these caves,
these empty spaces
which once held unseeing eyes,
could produce the tears they failed
to yield the long myopic years
I passed a field, spare and simple,
seemed so little then, but now a feast,
as much a masterpiece as Van Gogh
to some random scribble.
Skull Arch after a Starry Night continues my series of poems on human becoming using famous sandstone formations in Arches National Monument as metaphorical jumping-off points. In this poem I am imagining the speaker looking wistfully back on his life after he has physically died, regretting how much he took life in all of its variegated abundance for granted. Van Gogh, it turns out, has three paintings that prominently feature the skull. Starry Night is not one of them, but as it is one of his most famous paintings, I use it in the title as a shorthand pointer to him. I like this quote of his: “If I am worth anything later, I am worth something now. For wheat is wheat, even if people think it is a grass in the beginning.” May we not miss the wheat of the world now while we have the chance to know it as such.
Photo credit: Skeeze at Pixabay.com: Creative Commons License