There’s two ways of looking at Prussian Blue.
If you’re Vincent van Gogh you use it
to paint a starry night,
and the blue seems like any velvety night.
Rich, deep blue wrapped around everything.
The sky studded with diamonds,
the water striped with light.
But then there’s the other way.
Prussian Blue treats radiation sickness,
and you know you’ve stumbled on
another way of looking at Prussian Blue,
when you find out that the US government
has bought vast quantities of this paint,
which is stored in a top secret facility.
All that blue, blue paint,
for a dirty bomb,
or a full blown nuclear attack.
What would Vincent think of that?
Who would know better than him
humanity’s infinite capacity for self-destruction.
With his brain steeped in wormwood
and no friend but his brother Theo,
he knew all too well,
how human beings can set their face
against a different face.
How they can spurn and mock and attack
those who make them afraid.
As he made them afraid,
with his mad art,
and his love that was too wild,
too big for their small lives.
Antonia Hildebrand (c) 2022