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First Steps

Summer 2014 - Vol. 56, No. 3


This poem appears in the Summer 2014 issue of Modern Age. To subscribe now, go here.


Vincent van Gogh (after Millet)
oil on canvas, 1890


How beautiful, Millet! I’ll re-create
Your small white house, thatched roof, your apple tree
Arrayed in flowering blooms, your garden gate.
Your unpretentious domesticity
Has a young farmer dressed in faded blue
Kneeling beside his spade with outstretched arms,
Delighted with his child who is eager to
Explore the world beyond her mother’s warm
Embrace, the garden of her father, though
For now all her attention is on him.
One tiny arm she flings, her face aglow,
Forsaking rhyme and reason for a whim.
Tottering steps, unguided, yet she knows
Safety lies with the one to whom she goes.

                        How beautiful the Millet is, A child’s first steps!
                —Letter from Vincent to his brother Theo


Sharon Fish Mooney has won the inaugural Frost Farm Prize and was a semifinalist for the Richard Wilbur Award and Blue Lynx Prize for Poetry. Her poems have appeared in RUMINATE, The Lyric, Pudding Magazine, Common Threads, the Evansville Review, String Poet, and several anthologies and chapbooks.