A Patch of Grass
(on the discovery, by scientific means, of an earlier painting under Van Gogh’s ‘A Patch of Grass’, July 2008)
Well, why leave it there? I say, let’s go the whole hog,
palimpsests and pentimento! That’s the stuff
for a dour age convinced of conspiracies, chuffed
at every lid lifted, boundless redaction: why stop with Van Gogh?
Cavaliers’ arms incorrectly foreshortened,
a repainted stance reveals the groom’s fear,
the girl with the earring’s secretive leer,
feasts, dejeuners and Last Suppers haunted
by ghostly visages, sketches and scribbles.
A synchrotron: there’s a fine Kolinsky sable
for the twenty-first century! Prised from its Qumran, every codex
is ransacked for rough drafts of the Bible,
the Pieta’s armpit searched for labels
Shakespeare scoured for the remnants of Tip-Ex.
Blast Furnace, v1:4, December 2011