We see these men

combed by a whirlwind sky.

Hammered into their globular eyes – the drooping sacks,

the tears. This slow Van Gogh gathered by wind-weed skies

dies in the picture-gallery spectators’ glance from

this to

that wild child, Munched on a horror of immortal agony,

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to Dadd,

whose schizophrenic, goat-eared fathers

dance out Bacchic horror

in chalices of blood – their own.

You see the picture-gallery spectators’ glance –

approval, or disgust, or – worse – apathy.

Painting or poetry, music, too! –

the nymphomaniac distortions of Tchaikovsky’s scores – please now,

although to say, “Ours is essentially a tragic age”

(because the cameratic, cinematic, TV-atic brush

wires pictures whirs pictures shutters pictures) is a goat-beard

of exaggeration simply cut-put.

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Let me not go too far to view, view, view,

lest viewing be the habit, habit, habit.

Among these eyes are brothels, Van Gogh’s hammered entrances, red-litten crucifixes.

From that scream clawing the canvas is the drill

in the mind of Munch. That man,

striking the cold cloth in the institute for the insane, is Dadd,

his father’s murderer,

his name mocking the appalling deed, the patricide of criminal depletion,

his helpless pun.

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What do you think?

Written by Jonathan Finch


  1. I have the same dilemma with classical music. It makes me feel odd. It’s too powerful or depressing to take in big doses. I glut myself then stop listening for days, even weeks. Thanks for your feedback.