Wheat Field with Lark

by Norma Bradley

For Vincent

Rapid brushstrokes
under a lavender sky ─ calm
before approaching storm.
Earth and sky pulse.

A partially harvested field,
each stalk blazed
yellows and greens,
you bring each one close.
A single lark takes flight.

In my garden
tiny green stems
break through
damp earth.

Rabbits seek my greens.
Tall grasses
wear their winter light.

A mother bear and
her cub in the field,
thick black coats
amble up a steep hill
into the woods.

About Wheat Field with Lark—Vincent Van Gogh’s painting brought tears as I stood motionless before it about forty years ago. This poem emerged after visiting the Columbia Museum of Art several months ago, when once again, I was honored to see his work up close.

Walk the Mountain

by Norma Bradley

Lit for one moment in its fullness
drifting behind the cloud.
The squirrel paces
up and down the gnarly trunk.
The way everything changes
in a moment. The world topples,
      I with it.
From the branch
      red, yellow, orange tulips.
The willow bows ─
      weeping below.
Wind carries me until falling
solidly to earth.
Stand up and walk the mountain,
do it all again.

on the path
I pick up
one smooth stone

About Walk the Mountain—I turn to nature for solace when fear begins to grow in me. This poem emerged when the coronavirus began to spread throughout the world.

Norma Bradley, poet and multi-media visual artist, spent her career as a teaching artist in schools, hospitals, and rehabilitation centers. She was the director of art education for HandMade in America, participated in the North Carolina State Visiting Artist Program, and is a fellow of Hambidge Center. Her poems have been published in The Avocet, Snapdragon, The Great Smokies Review, Jewish Literary Journal, Speckled Trout Review, and From the Listening Place: Languages of Intuition.