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Bob Lucky, General Editor & Ray Rasmussen, Technical Editor
January 2020 Vol. 15 No. 4

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Charles Tarlton

Green and Yellow Trees

I stared at the canvas until I gradually dissolved. After that it was easy to slip in between the women walking under the blooming green and yellow chestnut trees in Van Gogh’s painting. That’s me in the red dress.

the darkness at bay
in a wood or park’s corner
and is that a cloud?
Oh, France! Oh, my beloved!
I feel mystery coming

These are patchy yellow and green streets under the yellow and white flowers and a girl in a yellow dress, and a girl in a green dress (green that almost disappears in the verdant growth).

trees accumulate
to fill the vision, a cloud
of puffing leafage
swelling as if, were there time
they would consume the picture

And a green man is coming along. He’s wearing a red beret. He could be leaving the restaurant (it might be a restaurant...) with its many reds (doors and gutters and chimneys) and the women are going in that direction. I’m eager to eat something, so I’m hurrying along in my red dress with the women in their yellow and green dresses, dresses the color of the trees and the roads.

with the green man comes
a story of an awkward
intrusion, menacing
the green and yellow French day
is he watching the women?

My dress is the color of the stranger’s beret, and the chimneys, of course.

Note: The image is of Vincent Can Gogh's "Chestnut Trees in Blossom," Oil on canvas, 70.0 x 58.0 cm., Auvers-sur-Oise: May, 1890, private collection. (In the public domain)