I wish he could have seen the fields of Spain,
the massive blocks of sunflowers,
their pug-nosed faces upturned toward the sunset;
more than enough to paint past thirty-seven's gate.
Have you seen yellow ochre past a tender age,
its vintage kept by shaded, airtight glass
beyond the pale of early learning years,
still wet enough to draw the latter rains?
In Holland there are colors known to few
where pails of silver poured the milk and lime.
I saw them once and never left behind the taste
of umber's golden sunburn on my tongue.
I wonder if he listened to his peers,
which paintings that we'll never chance to view,
forever buried under yellowed graves,
and if, perhaps, the best were left undone?
- first published in Fall/99 2Riverview
****There are other versions I've written of this poem. I can't seem
to settle on just one. So I keep them all scattered about.