Gail Thomas: "At the Van Gogh and Nature Exhibit"




Bodies of three sparrows in simple brown ink sprawl

restrained and tender across paper.  Feathered death

lives on walls next to sowers in blue earth, concentric strokes

of yellow and green wheat, boughs of cedar break

and swirl.  Like a child you plop a sun dead center

flanked by puff clouds gooey as marshmallows, an impossible

turquoise sky. Everything pulses and throbs except

the lone reaper contained in a field, just beyond hospital

walls where you wrote nature overpowers me.

I think of riding in the car with my mother, near the end,

awed by the trees that dwarfed her. She asked why 

are there so many and where do they come from?

In your last painting two dull crows bear witness

to rain as it slashes the planted field, precision

that cuts and cuts without relief.


Gail Thomas has published three books of poetry, Waving Back (Turning Point), No Simple Wilderness: An Elegy for Swift River Valley (Haley’s), and Finding the Bear (Perugia). In 2015, Waving Back was awarded honorable mention in the New England Book Festival in Boston.  Her poems have appeared in many literary journals and anthologies including Beloit Poetry Journal, Calyx, Hanging Loose, and North American Review.  She is the recipient of writing and teaching grants from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and the Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation, and was awarded residencies at the MacDowell Colony in New Hampshire and Ucross in Wyoming.