A lone man stands defiant in a field,
bracing his weary head against the whining wind,
and with his pale blue eyes from northern lands,
red-rimmed with dust and seeping, he sees
the gloomy sky browbeat the brown horizon.
While overhead the midday sun flames down
into his brain, where all the world lies weeping,
and desiring, a wilful pool of swirling pain,
filled with hopelessness and thoughts of fame.
And round about the wheat dances in the wind,
beneath the vastness of the empty sky,
whispering its song of plenitude;
a dance he has learned and understood,
from the twisted trees and tortured wood
of the black cypress and the olive grove.
But soon the wind must overcome his love,
the stoutest tree and twisted heart intent
on wrenching out its deepest mystery.
Still the power of his will resists,
and flickers over the canvas width,
in slashing flames of blue and gold.
Ten years of suffering and pain
blossom again, like fruit trees after rain.
But trust the devil Mistral to persist;
it fills his nose and eyes with dust and mist,
until the wide sail torn from the easel
is cast down upon the sea of waving grain.
Kneeling now, he bows to his creation,
not for the first time on hands and knees,
he worships and knows what to do by rote.
The ritual implements are soon collected
and arranged before the fallen shrine;
brushes, oil and paint and turpentine.
The work of love and life begins again,
balanced against the weight inside his coat,
one last struggle against disease and pain.
Soon, all too soon the final work is done,
and the Mistral dies down as if satisfied
that a dream so roughly hewn from wind and sun
is a worthy tribute to its headstrong power.
What then remains of life to be revealed?
Suddenly, without warning, the crows fly up,
to swirl and stream above the lonely field,
black, cackling laughter rising to the clouds.
The crack of the gunshot echoes after.