William Snyder

William Snyder has published poems in Atlanta Review, Poet Lore, Cottonwood and Southern Humanities Review among others. He was the co-winner of the Grolier Poetry Prize in 2001 and winner of the Kinloch Rivers Chapbook competition in 2002. He also won The CONSEQUENCE Prize in Poetry in 2013 and the Claire Keyes Poetry Prize in 2015. He teaches writing and literature at Concordia College, Moorhead, MN.


Wheat Field After a Storm

Vincent Van Gogh
June, 1889

But my boots are at the cobbler’s, I say.
So? he says, wear sandals. The rain will
clean your feet. And they need
a washing. Whew. And I do, and we walk,
and though I offer to carry, he says,
No. I go better today with weights
on my shoulders, and you would jangle
my paint, puncture a tube.

The sky is still uneasy after the rain,
and beyond the hills and the aspen stands,
a thick, white ensconcing
of cloud, like thick cream in a bowl.
It was a grand storm—lightning, wind—
and between the thunders, we heard
the flapping of sheets and cases on the line—
I was too slow to gather them in—
and the clatter of the rain against
the window panes until it blew itself
over and on to the north.

Let’s follow it, he’d said. And where
he stands now, the wheat tussed
and screwed into bands and slicks, furrows
and troughs, he paints—even
the smells—water and grass, earth
and loam, wheat stalks, tiny berries of grain.

© 2020 William Snyder