Le Fromage et La Lune

For James 

by Cassandra Dickinson

The moon calls to us as we drive 
deep into the Canberra night,
intoxicated with desire and wine.
The sky becomes a slate platter
spread out for only us. 

The moon calls to me despite
her baggy-eyed insomnia,
suspended between expectation 
and the cry of lovers 
longing for the dark. 

The moon bares her blemishes 
while I hide mine and think of
rounds of hard-rind goats cheese
when we ogled through the glass 
of that fromagerie in Saint-Rémy. 

I think of how Van Gogh painted her 
from his barred asylum window - 
a disappearing crescent, fading 
under the stubborn light of stars.

This poem was inspired by my experience of travelling to Saint-Rémy with my now husband, James in 2016. I have always been drawn to Van Gogh’s paintings and was particularly mesmerised by the swirling night sky of Starry Night as a young girl. In this strange year of isolation, when travel could only be vicarious, I was transported by my memory of this painting to my time in France as I pondered the mythology of the troubled artist. Vincent van Gogh painted Starry Night in 1889 during his stay at the asylum of Saint-Paul-de-Mausole near Saint-Rémy-de-Provence. 

Cassandra Dickinson is a poet and English teacher at an all-girls school in Sydney. She loves reading, travel, art, and music. In her spare time she enjoys exercising, drinking too much tea and cooking for family and friends. If she could be a full-time wine and cheese enthusiast, she would. Her poetry has previously been published in Quadrant magazine under the late, great poetry editor, Les Murray.  

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