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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

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