I had a dream early, early this morning that was like this poem:
“Noon Rest (after Millet: 1890)”
To rest before the sheaves are bound,
toss the scythes aside, bare the feet and sink
into the nearest haystack, release
the undone task and consent to sleep
while the brightest hour burns an arc
across its stretch of sky:
this is the body’s prayer, mid-day angelus
whispered in mingled breath while the limbs
stretch in thanksgiving and the body turns
toward the beloved.
This is the prayer of trust:
what’s left undone will wait. The unattended
child, the uncut acre, cracked wheel, broken
fence that are occupations of the waking mind
soften into shadow in the semi-darkness
of dream. All shall be well. Little depends on us.
The turning world is held and borne in love.
We give good measure in our toil and, meet and right,
obey the body when it calls us to rest.
Marilyn Chandler McEntyre
from “The Color of Light: Poems on Van Gogh’s Late Paintings” (2007)
Commentary: Chandler McEntyre wrote an entire book of ekphrastic poems meditating on the late paintings Van Gogh. Eerdmans was kind enough to print poems and paintings together, on facing pages – a poet’s dream. The book is lovely. This poem is lovely, a reading of Van Gogh’s variously titled “La Meridienne” or “La Sieste” or “Noon Rest.” The painting can be seen, along with others in the same genre, at www.hayinart.com.
I find it so interesting that the poet alludes to the Revelation of Love by Julian of Norwich, the fourteenth-century English anchorite, who wrote all shall be well in the middle of her memories of a vision of Jesus.
Surely all sleep, and some wake, and some, even while sleeping, have awakened hearts.