In My Dream I Saw Van Gogh
He stood wearing a wide-rimmed straw hat,
held a brush.
From time to time the hat’s brim broke into petals
and his face became the heart of a sunflower.
“Why do you use such bright strong yellow?”
I asked, “Is it the explosion of fire from within,
or the side-effect of a certain medicine? You see,
I wish you could verify for me that art is more than
therapy or mere side-effect of disease or drug.”
Vincent looked hard at my moving lips, in effort
to catch the words outpouring like droves of flies -
sort of crippled butter-flies – then
shoved a hand in pocket and brought forth his ear:
“I couldn’t hear a thing of what you were saying,”
he informed me and went on with his painting.
It turned to be very hot in that field in Arles, and I
rushed for shelter to the car. But it was nowhere in
the parking place. Instead, a huge golden cat
resembling lion sat there half-dozing,
licking its paw.
Suddenly I spotted my husband. He ran towards me,
shouting, “I told you not to…” Yet the voice didn’t
belong to him, and when he approached, I realized
the face didn’t either. It was that of an old indignant
teacher who kicked me out of class eons ago.
Such are the crazy happenings that fill my dreams.
Then I wake up, and real life is even crazier -
© 2012 Rena Lee
“I might drop by”, you said, and it sufficed
to hook me on anticipation –
“Drop by”, “Drop by”, echoes are dropping
from some old unfulfilled promise.
Your favorite wine is already chilled,
there are Daisies in the white ceramic vase
you bought me a thousand years ago.
Although cracked, it’s still holding.
A gentle wind sends the curtain dancing,
and from the oven the cake already wafts
So often broken and disillusioned
I’ve grown suspicious of hope… and yet…
“I might drop by”, you said, and I set the table
for two, laboring hard to match cups,
leftover from one set,
with isolated saucers, remains from another:
Once respected members of complete families,
now solitary relics –
just like you and me.
© 2012 Rena Lee
Woman at a Certain Age
sitting at a table, hands clasped in lap.
There are apples – borrowed from Cezanne? – And perhaps
a pear or two, laid out on a blue-glazed platter.
Wildflowers in a large white mug may be added
as feature that befits a painting like this.
The woman seems immersed in thought:
Is she reminiscing about all the things she was able to do
once upon another time?
Regretting all the things she could’ve had, but let pass by?
Contemplating how it always keeps getting
too late too soon?
No telling for sure what goes on in her mind -
Perhaps she reproaches herself, as suggested by the brooding
expression: “Come on,” she may say to herself, “you’ve known
all along one essentially remains alone, that with the perpetual
clattering and chattering all about you,
it’s really not about you.”
Woman at a certain age, at a table, head tilted,
slightly lowered, palms clutching emptiness.
Not a stir in sight in the opaque air, yet one senses the
approaching night, even catches an escaped echo
from the rusty cage of her heart, where a locked-up nightingale,
crazy with love, cannot stop singing –
Woman at a certain age sitting at a table
in the company of flowers and fruit.
It’s still –
Originally appeared in
Voices Israel 2009 Vol. 35
© 2012 Rena Lee
Rena Lee, penname of Rena Kofman, is a poet and writer, a retired Professor of Hebrew from the City University of New York, and the author of twelve books in Hebrew.
Her work has appeared (in both Hebrew and English) in many magazines, anthologies, scholarly journals, etc.
Her chapbook Captive of Jerusalem: Song of Shulamite has just been published by Finishing Line Press. Rena's website can be found
A Little Poetry Promote Your Page Too
BACK TO VORACIOUS VERSES