At the High Museum of Art, Atlanta
On Loan from MoMA
29 September 2000
He fought the demons with a tube of paint,
With knife and brush to joust—cut, thrust, and parry.
Each stroke was life or death: to drive and harry
Unceasing the dark foe, for once to faint
Would yield to black despair, the old complaint.
Rejected artist, preacher, missionary
Was more rejection than one man could carry.
In a better church, he might have been a saint.
So still the starlight pierces as it swirls
Above the silent hills and sleeping town
Behind the cypress writhing in the wind.
Again the heart its fierce defiance hurls,
In swaths of yellow, blue, and green and brown
Carves out one hour of peace before the end.