Sunlight cuts into the green spring wheat
bending under the sea breezes,
exposing throughout the field sudden
coquelicots blazing haphazard,
surrounding olive trees growing in careful rows.
So much like the meadows of Provence
opened gleaming before me
as I’ve seen them in the landscapes of Cezanne—
discovery of brightness, color.
Yet the goats are starved, too thin, too worn.
By the roadside a well stands menacing
two massive stone pillars joined by a wooden bar,
an altar to some idolator’s strange hideous demon.
Or the song of the Arab girl
who, dressed in an incandescent red and violet robe,
in the shade of a palm lullabies a flock of sheep
lazy in the afternoon sun.
David Ghitelman has had poems in New Letters, CutBank, and The Iowa Review. He lives in Brooklyn and is learning Japanese. (1982)