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Poems – Joop Bersee

Queueing up

In a queue outside the museum,
covered by our century,
waiting to see what he
saw with his brushes.
Once inside, a flood of people block
my view, sand in his eyes.

The paintings are frozen solid on the walls,
a slight after taste, but no sip, no
peace to remove their veils.
I’m alone with the lights,
familiar images,
but no art visible.

What would I discover
being there on my own, much
closer to the strokes of his brain?
Or meeting him?
Why his French leave?

There will always be that secret
which no one can answer,
somewhere caged inside our heads,
a moonlight flit
without moonlight
without flit.



Red and resting

In the eternal mistral.
His blazing emotions
almost ready to dry, carved
into generations, digital
scrapbooks, worldwide.
Eyes borrow his urgent, bold
images, the tune of a bird
straight from Nature,
how it is meant to be.

Nevertheless we trample,
root out the weeds
planted in the right place
by a great master.
We see without seeing,
expose our interpretations
bouncing off the varnish,
the inward dream sleeping
together with fate, with his
green defenceless eyes,
a cold and warm crust,
red and resting I think.




The sun a massive Louis D’or
the sower sowing his future.
The field soon white canvas,
opening a colourful event,
a giants’ eyelids,
pulse-beat exposed on stranger’s
walls, trusting, admiring,
as the books have spoken,
interpreting, ploughing a subsystem.

An American accent wants to know:
‘Tell me, what is his masterpiece?
What made him so special?’

For heaven’s sake, use Google.
All the secrets are there, a nice,
straight line, an ear, plenty of
wine and dry bread crusts.

Louis D’or, gold coin.



Working on ten paintings

That day might come.
The body refusing
the exhausting output,
whispering in the bedroom,
beast in his head aflame.

No time for details,
brushes filled to the brim,
lumps of landscape,
clouds alive, nibbling,
turmoil, waves, shapes
of panic, fearlessly put down.

The feverish sun is waiting
for metres of canvas, lists
of colours, tons of paint,
the horizon nowhere.
Send send send.

Each painting a wrecking ball.
Spring and Summer were beautiful.
Now Autumn’s feast begins,
falling out of sky and hands.


Note: Poems based on Vincent van Gogh’s letters to his brother Theo.  joopbersee.com