Oil on Canvas, 1857
Jean-Francois Millet, 1814 – 1875
We don't know what to do
with the poor. There they are
in the midst of all that splendor
a cornucopia pouring
light on their bent backs
and the sheaves of wheat
clutched in work-worn hands.
At what price they labor to gain
so little. Weep, if you must,
but dare not spill sorrow
on their homespun bindings.
How is it possible to separate
the subtle shades of need,
from hues of blessing;
a mélange of sweat and stubble.
Haystacks spiral skyward
like golden castles, and beyond
Paris, the Forest Fontainebleau;
a horizon to the next good thing.
Appears in chapbook, What's To Be Done With Beauty, 2012, Creative Justice Press.