Nearing Harvest - Poem by Dick Holmes
I'm flying low over a wheat field
when I spot what looks like
a flock of crows in the near distance.
I recognize them
immediately as van Gogh's crows.
The vast gold of the wheat
rushes below me, and pretty soon
I'm close enough to hear them cawing,
a transcendently beautiful racket
to my ears. The only thing
ominous in the whole scene, which
actually stretches far beyond the frame
in the museum, is a group of
art critics who've just pulled up
in a black four-by-four truck, jumped
out with rifles and started shooting
at the scattering crows. To make
matters worse, I have just turned into
a crow myself and now,
with bullets whizzing by me,
I have to figure out how to fly
like a crow. Fortunately, it comes to me
fairly quickly since I've already had
quite a lot of flight training as a
human being. In fact, I become so
adept at flying like a crow and
dodging bullets that I decide to turn
around and swoop down for a closer
look at the critics. Imagine my surprise
when I find at close inspection that
one of the members of the hunting party is
van Gogh himself!
'Caw, caw, caw! ' I exclaim,
beginning to understand — no, feel —
the critics' dark interpretation
of van Gogh's famous painting. 'Stop
cawing! ' caws the disturbed painter.
'You are not a crow! You're
merely a stroke of paint! '
''Merely'? ' I caw back. ''Paint'?
Hardly, Bubba! I'm a stroke of
genius, and so are you! Get over yourself! '
The poor master's reply to that
explodes from the mouth of his gun barrel,
and the next thing I know, I'm
flying without my left wing. The amazing
beauty of it, though, is that the
absence of one wing does not affect my
flying at all! I soar up into the dark
blue, my heart now light as a feather.
And here's van Gogh flying beside me,
having turned into a crow himself!
'What a painting! ' we caw in unison.
'What a terrific painting it is! '
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