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Poem for Vincent

by D.C. McKenzie

I. the raising of Lazarus 1890


                They move quickly

                past your 'Lazarus'

                hanging in the too white room


                with the sunflowers.

                they cannot bear it, Vincent

                Perhaps it is the crimson lake


                tangled in his beard, or

                what you have done to the sun

                but they have no stomach for it.


                They cannot abide that looming

                green sister and her blood




II. garden of St. Paul's hospital 1889


                Yet we are all held, transfixed

                by the redblack of the asylum

                gardens and the puddles of light


                on a stone path where

                chiaroscuro men stand

                hunched before the autumn hulks


                Surely these are not trees

                rooted in the garden

                twisted so,


                these must be the inmates

                shuffling in the darkest weeds,

                these must be the prisoners

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