March 30 is Vincent Van Gogh's birthday. He was named after an older brother, and infant who died. The haunting story of being named for the other, dead brother, is the subject of a beautiful, rich poem by Northern Irish poet Kate Newman. This hour on Here on Earth, Jean Feraca and Molly Peacock discuss the Van Gogh poem and others that have a quality of spring light, the light of the equinox.
Molly Peacock will give a talk about the life and work of Edna St. Vincent Millay on Thursday April 3, 2008 at 7:00 p.m. at the Centennial Hall of Milwaukee Public Library, 733 N. Eighth Street.
Selected Poem: Van Gogh’s Brother, Vincent
By Kate Newmann, from The Blind Woman in the Blue House published by Summer Palace Press
County Donegal, Northern Ireland
The weaver in the turfy dusk
Bowing his labouring back
To lean into his wooden loom
As though it were an upright piano
Lacquered by the window’s melancholy beam;
The worn shuttle a strong heart beat
Through the cool warp of camphored silence:
The artist’s hungry pulse no match
for its unfaltering staccato song.
To have a brother die before you
With your name must be like
Sitting at that loom in the mean light
Of your own disregarded picture
As your fingers feel the pattern
Forever pushing through from the other side.
- Molly Peacock, poet and author of five books of poetry, including "Cornucopia: New & Selected Poems"