poem index

In a Blue Wood

Richard Levine
The couple in Van Gogh's blue wood is walking
where there is no path, amid tall,
seemingly branchless blue and pink trees. The tree crowns
are beyond the frame, reaching up into our mind's eye—
because we know where trees go and that they are full
of wind and a thousand softly stirring
machines that are alive. Equally out of sight,for
nests of intricately woven strength and fragility hang
like proofs that there are no diagrams or maps
for life's most important journeys. The horizon
at the couple's back, between the trees, is black.
They walk toward light. Crowds of waist-high flowers,
on thick-leaved stalks, sing in stout slurries of pink and white.

The couple cannot think of anything good
ever coming from anger, so they are more happy than not.
That could be true. Maybe I want it to be
true of me, of us. And like us, they may have worn paths
to the most forest-deep secrets in each other's lives.
Or perhaps they are only now on their way to the place
where they will become lovers, the excitement of their flesh
through their clothes singing, making them careless,
giddy, and light as birds in flight.

Of course, we can't know any of this. Perhaps, even Van Gogh
didn't know anything about them: so many unseen possibilities
lived in a blue wood, so like ours.

From A Tide of a Hundred Mountains by Richard Levine. Copyright © 2012 by Richard levine. Reprinted with permission of Bright Hill Press. All rights reserved.

Richard Levine