Peasant and Peasant Woman Planting Potatoes, by Vincent Van Gogh
A close childhood friend came once to visit Joseph.
They had shared all the secrets that children
tell each other when they are lying on their pillows
at night before they go to sleep. These two
were completely truthful with each other.
The friend asked, What was it like when you realized
that your brothers were jealous and what they planned to do?
I felt like a lion with a chain around his neck,
not degraded by the chain, and not complaining,
just waiting for my power to be recognized.
How about down in the well, and in prison,
how was it then? Like the moon when it is
getting smaller, yet knowing the fullness to come.
Like a seed pearl ground in the mortor for medicine
that knows it will now be the light in a human eye.
Like a wheat grain that breaks open in the ground,
then grows and gets harvested, then crushed
in the mill for flour, baked and then crushed again
between teeth to become a person's understanding.
Lost in love, like the songs the planters sing
the night after they sow the seed.