Anthony Walton

Starry Night

And at night I go out and paint the stars.
— Vincent Van Gogh
Another sky in the weather
of the mind –
clear, so clear –
the sky rages
and swoops;
cold, no wind;
I am sure there is no wind:
the sky
can move of its own
I see too clearly,
and there is no sedative
for this. Sunlight
or darkness,
I am in pursuit
of focus;
I have always believed
in the extremes, and this extremity has left me
in exile
with my insight.
The flaws in my perception
cannot be cured
with prescription,
this is not a matter of lenses
but vision;
I know what I see
and I know that I am seeing.
It is not
that I cannot be helped;
I do not wish to be.
What some perceive as violence
comes to me
as peace, waves
of comfort
swirling about my head and before my eyes
into beauty.
I have come to view these distortions
as my clarity,
an emancipation
from the commonplace,
though I embrace
the common.
I learned from my time with the miners
that the world is a cave –
above or below ground –
we are all trapped,
and it is dark.
But there are stars
and I must acknowledge them.
I am aware that I love too well
and in my failure to requite
my dreams
my inamorata, this life,
does not love me.
How could she?
She does not see what I see,
she does not trust the impulses
of my terrible passion.
I love people, I love
the world, I lavish them
with red and yellow,
blue and green
letting the colors
do everything.
It seems that only I can see
that they
deserve it.
I walk,
then paint these landscapes
of my hunger, I want to love
and devour –
I will suffocate on my ardor;
I know that.
Look at those stars,
are they not a map
of heaven?
Why should I not describe
them; we shall all get there
soon enough

Anthony Walton
Starry Night first appeared in Notre Dame Review, 11, 2001.