Veronica Aaronson

A Sunflower
after ‘Still Life: Vase with Twelve Sunflowers’
January 1889      Van Gogh

Severed from my roots, I don’t have long to paint a
portrait
of this blue-smocked man, palette knife in hand.

In this dark-moon chamber he darts with to and fro
dragonfly
frenzy, enough to unseat stars, set them spinning.

Fiery stubble claws around the edge of his bandage,
threatens
to overheat, feed his fever, consume him.

Black eyes, like crows over a wheatfield in constant
flight,
are stark against the landscape of his face.

He daubs yellow, not of sun, but nicotine, bruised skin,
bile,
sallow chair nursing only pipe and pouch.

I search for anything to ease my disquiet in this space
bereft of warmth, bee hum, dance of breeze.

What kind of man is this that turns his back towards
the light, whose face doesn’t follow the sun?

Veronica Aaronson is one of the founders of Poetry Teignmouth and of the Teignmouth Poetry Festival. Winner of this year’s Dawlish Poetry Trail, she is a member of Moor Poets and enjoys reading in venues around the South West. She has just retired from a career as a psychotherapist where she used poetry in her work. She is particularly interested in how people’s histories colour their perception and the use of metaphor.