Thursday Poem: Avenue of Plane Trees

Things are growing strange these days,
like Van Gogh’s yellow trees. Oh, do not
be surprised by these yellow immensities,
how out of proportion things in the picture
seem. What you see in a way makes sense:
the enormous, barren trees eclipsing
the unimportant buildings at Arles station,
the people all small, shadow-like, cast
to the side. Perhaps Van Gogh should have
left us out entirely, but then who would
be left to blame for the strange blurring
of the seasons in the forefront, the way
summer bleeds into autumn, the forests
burning deep into the winter, those winters
where the snow piled so high, we were all
nearly buried alive. Soon we’ll vanish,
and no picture will even exist—unless,
unless someone will answer (who will dare
to answer), where in the world is spring?

–by Jodie Hollander

Source: Poetry (May 2024)