Bare Suggestion


the moment she bent
one fluid motion
for the thin bough
both hands grasping

bare suggestion
could he have meant it
for the bending trees


Bonnie Marshall

Artist: Vincent van Gogh

I write a poem before I search for illustration.  The black chalk drawing by Vincent van Gogh, “Woman Picking up a Stick in Front of Trees, 1890,” is an exception.

going for distract

boustrophedron van-goph-auvers-rain


oh, Dear Reader…let’s go for distract…
pretend it’s a rainy day…or blazing hot
or something’s wrong with our setting
and we can’t change the world…at least
not these very moments

now consider the reward  of thinking
boustrophedon…come on…stay with
me on this one, for it’s a marvel, and
will prove advantage in a curious life
once you get the knack of it…like
computer glasses…or tapping apps

boustrophedron example



there…you  just “boused”…might
tease your eyes a bit at first until you
find the motion knack of it…the plow
of it, like oxen forward backward on
a field, the way some Greeks…some
Romans incised glyphs into their clay

use it now…you’re ready… you…
could try it with van Gogh…his great
“Rain – Auvers”…1890…one from
his final works

start top left…scan seeing thinking
left to right and right to left across
its levels blue to gold to blue…stop
now and then to ponder what he shows
for it will wonder you

and then…there is…his rain


Bonnie Marshall

Painting by Vincent van Gogh
“Rain – Auvers” (1890)

I can only take one star

vg star close up

it’s the brush stroke

that matters

for a star like no other

in this…

oh, no…been there

Vincent van Gogh


“I see moon infinity.”

“That cyprus pierces earth and sky.”

“The sky is ocean drowning…”


too much…too much

I can only take one star

that one

just three brush swirls

sopping yellow ocher

to rough portrait canvas

Bonnie Marshall

Artist: Vincent van Gogh

To Find Perspective

van gogh perspective frame

I knew all was readiness…
my palette daubed
with slight toxins…malachite
for glass green waves
below zinc white’s smother foam…
a bead of lapis lazuli,
all primed for sable brushes
there rowed upon my easel.
I knew all was centeredness,
my thumb and fingers balancing
the board against my forearm,
my axis perpendicular
to silhouette the shore.
And yet I lacked perspective.
I knew van Gogh had used a frame…
a strong wood perspective frame
with diagonal perpendicular horizontal wire
to line orient his vision.
And I estimated distance
of sailboats…on far deep water…
with gray storm clouds brewing
and craved his guidance source.

Bonnie Marshall

for love has no template

Joshua Reynolds

Van Gogh…Reynolds…Durer
brushed themselves on canvas
in their oil paint love work
all dread implication
stark as sun glare
on white walls in empty plazas…
wolf howl edging canyons…
a parting in dry grass

that love has no template
except self…existence
and a hand hold name…
that I love you
means I love me

so let’s embrace…beloved
compound the paradox
and I shall love you loving me
and…loving you

it is a starting place

Bonnie Marshall

Artist: Joshua Reynolds, 1747