Oct/Nov 2016 Poetry

Two Poems

by Bob Bradshaw

Image courtesy of the British Library Online Photo Collection

The Starry Night

He checked himself in
to St-Paul's asylum.
Within days he was wandering
the hospital's garden,

painting his lively
with their violet scarves
and blue green leaves.

At night Vincent
heard voices urging him
to hurt himself.
Waking long before sunrise

he gazed out
on a voltage of stars
and a big, yellow moon
in cobalt blue skies.

Every morning he painted
from memory
in the hospital's studio
on the first floor

turbulent wheat fields,
writhing cypresses,
the night's swirling corsage
of lights.

At the end of each day he feared
putting away his paints.
Only the distraction
of working

could protect him
from another attack.

Each day
he laid down layer after layer
of thick paints, disappearing
into wheat fields,

pomegranates, ivy , olive trees,
or as he does here
into the reassuring calm
of a starry night.


Doomsday, 43 Years After the Cuban Missile Crisis

In 1962 we went about our lives, knowing
the world would end soon.

It's 2005 and across the hall a nurse enters
a room dressed in a hazmat suit:

a doomsday virus is rumored
to be sealed inside

but it's me who every night sets off alarms
in the middle of the night,

the staff rushing into my room, clapping
wires across my chest, doctors

hovering like divers over a wreck. Yet
the next morning, wheeled outside

everywhere I turn I see new growths
launching from old stumps.


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