A poem by David Pollard

Vincent van Gogh (1853-90)
[With Bandaged Ear, Oil on Canvas, 1889,
Courtauld Institute, London]

The blue is in the eyes last white of seeing
       no other world
       but those harsh swirls and me
weighed down with
all the long history of paint’s
flight into the way
the blood’s aorta sees.

The shadows of my skin are there already
bruising their whorls into some viscous future
craving to be real
– as all that stuff crowds round –
will force itself through all the nauseous
colours into my visions,
       change it to light’s own
       thickness and design,
as flowers sun out the truth
must work my harsh brush beyond myself.

– do not surrender
       all my delights come only
       for the healing and narrations
       of the light-

The colour as it comes,
the brush strokes short,
expressionist, alive
       (unlike Paul’s landscapes
       are more solid)
must break apart the wall of air
       – can see –
       – can touch –
vibrating in between,
bring its dark suns
unmutilated into the dangers
of its unabandoned moments,
onto the canvas’ waiting absence,
       – dear god don’t make me –
       – I sold a painting once –
in my delusions –
       – keep this token Rachel
       carefully –
can look like that
stark bandaged
with the sudden colour
of too much palpability.
David Pollard was born under the bed in 1942 and has been furniture salesman, accountant, TEFL teacher and university lecturer. He has published The Poetry of Keats: Language and Experience which was his doctoral thesis, A KWIC Concordance to the Harvard Edition of the letters of John Keats’, a novel, Nietzsche’s Footfalls, and three volumes of poetry, patricides, Risk of Skin and bedbound.