Published on Academy of American Poets (

The Park

It was I think a small town in Ohio

I taped to the wall above my office desk the postcard
Of Klimt’s painting called The Park

An example of cliché so profuse it touched my heart

Consoling me each time I turned my glance to its
Storm of tiny moth-sized leaves shimmering over all but the bottom

Ribbon of the canvas where the rows of the trunks individuate

The mass of the pulsing foliage above
A figure in a kimono or a robe so lush it too seems foliate

Stands apart from two other figures similarly dressed

But (the two) huddled closely together & moving off the sheer
Right edge of the canvas

& the solitary figure remains oddly hesitant & indistinct

& pensive although
Perhaps she is simply realizing that she does not wish to go

Where all of the others wish to go


“The Park” originally appeared in The Paris Review (1998). Used
with permission of the poet.


David St. John

David St. John is the author of over ten collections of poetry, including Study for the World's Body: New and Selected Poems (Perennial, 1994), which was a finalist for the National Book Award. He currently serves on the Board of Chancellors of the Academy of American Poets.

Date Published: 1998-02-01

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