two poems
The Sower (1888) by Vincent Van Gogh

The art of Van Gogh and the sculpture of Louise Bourgeois inspire in these two new poems from Charlene Kwiatkowski.


‘You must get your eyes accustomed gradually to the different light.’
Vincent van Gogh

Darkness troubles the edges.
He seeks the sun and its flowers,
unending rows of wheat, a yellow house
with a straw chair and a sturdy
wooden bed. The impression
of calm and dreamless sleep.

Feeling eclipses boundaries.
He strides to the fields each day,
digs his easel into unploughed ground.
Paints eternity into the hands of a sower,
a sheaf of corn, lit up by a sun
that warms and then burns.

How far the apple falls

After Louise Bourgeois’s sculpture Father and Son in Seattle’s Olympic Sculpture Park

Measure the distance between father and son—
a history of growth, tectonic shifts, multiplication
of islands with alternating springs,
unsyncopated offerings. Despite the applause
of man-made waterfalls, they thirst
for an answer to their question
misheard as an echo across the chasm:
Will you come to me?

They are the split image of each other:
hands outstretched, clothes jettisoned,
tired of water’s weight on everything.
A rare scene of exposure
veiled by rain and wind—
so much comes down to timing.

Charlene Kwiatkowski is a Canadian writer living in Vancouver, British Columbia. Her work has been published in Barren MagazinePRISM internationalMaisonneuve, and Still Point Arts Quarterly. She has an MA in English Literature and works at an art gallery. Charlene enjoys walking the city, taking too many photos, and blogging about what she sees and reads at


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