This poem appears in the Summer 2014 issue of Modern Age. To subscribe now, go here.
Vincent van Gogh (after Delacroix)
oil on canvas, 1890
A wooden box stands open on the ground,
Empty of treasures, bandages perhaps
Soaked well in oil their owner used to wrap
Up bleeding wounds around this man he found
Beside the stream and road, where others bound
For worship walk on by, their periapts
And tassels keeping them from harm. With rapt
Expressions on their faces, not a sound
They make, nor do they heed the plight of one
Who’s beaten, stripped of clothes and is the least
Of their concerns. Near death, he thought he saw
An angel, not a good Samaritan
lifting him gently onto his own beast,
Attentive to the spirit of the law.
But a Samaritan . . .
took pity on him. Luke 10:33