The fields that season
lay down like lawn in shades
that departed from Platonic,

the tint of pea-soup
giving way to sewery verdigris.
However much the observer,

above the rattling injunctions
of the train, might have applauded
the ghosts in paintings forgotten,

each tint, however carefully ground
by the paintmaker’s idiot assistant,
lay in violation of the pure,

as if the gloss had been spoiled
by grease or some mishap of weather.
Most of the trees were the same size,

cutouts from green-black construction
paper, pasted down before the distant rise,
glowing at the edges as the sun

cranked through its long decline.
That was the scene,
apart from cotton balls of sheep

and a raven strung by wire
from some unseen rafter, set for a play
yet to be performed, or written,

apart from the title.

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This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 39 Number 1, on page 28
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