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Van Gogh, “Fishing Boats on the Beach at Saint-Marie”

ISSUE:  Spring 1986

Half the eye is heaven here. You could look for Vincent in
clouded in lavender or white, pearled, iridescent.
But his desire was to line the earth with color,
to draw the rainbow down along the ground.
So we descend: the boats float on the golden beach,
prows, riggings and masts in a cat’s cradle
bent seaward. While the sand beneath them undulates,
the sterns toss forward, lumbering, luminous,
continuing their still course, landlocked, always sailing.
And in response the water stands at our attention
on which the boats at sea, unmoving, pitch, fishing.
The shores’ boats hold the sea in place
that the fish may swim up, dazzling in their nets,
these pearly nets beneath a patch of turquoise, out of the
Land, sea, which fishes most? Ask the wind, yourself,
 trafficking between them.


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