Thursday 23 March 2017

impossible blossom

Almond Blossom, 1890
Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890)

From Blossoms

From blossoms comes
this brown paper bag of peaches
we bought from the boy
at the bend in the road where we turned toward
signs painted Peaches.

From laden boughs, from hands,
from sweet fellowship in the bins,
comes nectar at the roadside, succulent
peaches we devour, dusty skin and all,
comes the familiar dust of summer, dust we eat.

O, to take what we love inside,
to carry within us an orchard, to eat
not only the skin, but the shade,
not only the sugar, but the days, to hold
the fruit in our hands, adore it, then bite into
the round jubilance of peach.

There are days we live
as if death were nowhere
in the background; from joy
to joy to joy, from wing to wing,
from blossom to blossom to
impossible blossom, to sweet impossible blossom.

Li-Young Lee

“From Blossoms” from Rose
Copyright © 1986 by Li-Young Lee
Source: Rose (BOA Editions Ltd., 1986)


  1. I stood in front of that picture and tears started to stream from my eyes and would not stop for such a long time. It really spoke to me.

  2. I am so moved by your description of this experience.

    Van Gogh painted this right at the end of his life to celebrate the birth of his baby nephew who was named after him. He wrote to his mother "How glad I was when the news came... I should have greatly preferred him to call the boy after Father, of whom I have been thinking so much these days, instead of after me; but seeing it has now been done, I started right away to make a picture for him, to hang in their bedroom, big branches of white almond blossom against a blue sky."


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