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
Saint-Rémy-de-Provence.

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”.

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