In Van Gogh’s Starry Night

I can picture you
with many-headed horses
many-headed hounds

amongst stars unswung
swinging cypress

hear your laughter
in the Mistral ‘the idiot wind’.

But you are not in

You are here on Castle Hill
swaying beech trees
where St Walburge’s
cannot outspire the Pennines.

Why the stars so bright and loud?
The processions of mist walking on the summits?
The long lapping tongue of a death-hound?

You are silent
but from a small room
in a distant asylum Van Gogh speaks:

“we take death to reach a star”.



One thought on “In Van Gogh’s Starry Night

  1. Greg says:

    I visited the asylum where he was kept for a while in Provence some years ago. A sad but not an oppressive place. But of course as you indicate there is no need to go there. Your ‘long lapping tongue of a death hound’ provides a vivid context in our own mythology.

    A pity so few now can experience the vividness of starry nights through the glare of street lights.

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