Vincent Asks “What If” in a Field of Spring Wheat at Sunrise

To the scattered stalks, Vincent asks,
“What if the road is the rifle
the only way to wander these hills of grass
to feel the warmth of solitary sun?” 

“What if it is only after the shot
that my muzzled flame will spread
past trees, spark sky to flower?

“What if where you see a road
I see a wall of rage growing ever higher
a wall curving light into swirl of shadow
into deepening dark?”

“And what if I am trying to wrap those winds into spirals
spirals that will rise my soul up, over, out
spirals that will offer answers between search and smoke
between lift and loss?”

“But what if all I can offer is one match to light a stem of leaves 
for flame, trees that will bloom in copied shine
trees we know are doomed to barren branches in fall?”

“And what if I take the hand of the ghost
that comes for me, believe the belly
of earth that birthed billions, now
hungry for me?” 

Nancy Himel

What was your process for creating this work? What is the significance of the form/genre you chose for this work? What is the significance of this work to you?

I love writing in response to art. For Vincent Asks What If in a Field of Spring Wheat at Sunrise I was responding to the painting which was shared in one of the online groups I belong to. I researched about this moment in Van Gogh’s life which was less than a year before he committed suicide, and I wanted that maniacal thinking to show in this poem. I am with him in so many ways. 

You Wake Up Early is a whole new type of poem for me, a whole new process. It began as an erasure poem from two consecutive pages in one of my favorite books. Now I think of it as a removal poem because I removed the words and phrases in the order I found them then added a collage of images to wrap the words in color, movement, and symbol. This was my first time using Photoshop, but the artist in me will not let it be my last.

Nancy Himel is a newly retired English teacher currently living in Tucson. She has been published in Prairie Schooner, Verse-Virtual, and Haiku Universe and has poems upcoming in Amethyst Review and One by Jacar Press.. She loves owls and angels.