The Sheaves by Edwin Arlington Robinson

Sheaves of Grain, Vincent Van Gogh, 1890

The Sheaves

Where long the shadows of the wind had rolled,
Green wheat was yielding to the change assigned;
And as by some vast magic undivined
The world was turning slowly into gold.
Like nothing that was ever bought or sold
It waited there, the body and the mind;
And with a mighty meaning of a kind
That tells the more the more it is not told.

So in a land where all days are not fair,
Fair days went on till on another day
A thousand golden sheaves were lying there,
Shining and still, but not for long to stay –
As if a thousand girls with golden hair
Might rise from where they slept and go away.

A New England poet, a Mainer, Edwin Arlington Robinson’s middle name has some connection to Arlington, Massachusetts, near my home. It’s easy to think of the living sheaves of Robinson’s sonnet illustrated in the painting of one of Van Gogh’s favorite subjects, fields of wheat.

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