Laura Ritland
"Vincent, in the Dream of Zundert"

In my illness, I dreamed I saw our house again in Zundert
going on under an endless afternoon sun without me.
Each path, each field, the magpies in the acacia in the cemetery,
and Mother, there, like a colour I find sometimes in stories

that go on under an endless afternoon sun without me.
How simply we lived then, dear Theo. We had bread, family,
and Mother. There is a colour I find sometimes in stories
that reminds me there was a time before I began to perceive

how simply we lived then. Dear Theo, we had bread, family,
and I believed in the eternity of those ageless acacia trees.
That reminds me: there was a time before I began to perceive
how these shadows now thicken my memories.

And I believed the eternity of those ageless acacia trees
could be painted – as if paint were all we’d ever need.
Oh, how these shadows now thicken my memories,
dear Theo. If I were well again and if those leaves

could be painted, as if paint were all we’d ever need,
we’d be more than two lines leaning over in grief.
Dear Theo, if I were well again and if those leaves
would be what they seemed to be in my sleep,

we’d be more than two lines leaning over in grief.
Each path, each field, the magpies in the acacia in the cemetery
would be what they seemed to be, as in my sleep,
in my illness, when I dreamed I saw our house again in Zundert.

Full announcement page for Laura Ritland's 2014 Far Horizons Poetry Award win.

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