“The sun is god.” – J.M.W. Turner
When Turner lay dying, his curtained bed
Butted against the shuttered glass, he saw
Light landing on the window ledge like rain—
Just out of reach. His dry, paint-splotched hand opened
To hold the golden glow. He closed his eyes.
He dreamed of barges and freighters docked;
Leftward, a row of domes, smokestacks, and spires;
Rightward, a vacant pier that juts into
A bay of haze and black waters—and all
On fire from blotches burning far beyond
Toward which the ship in the center moves and grasps
For something to tug it from the coming darkness.
—Matthew Brennan (Vigo County)
This poem appeared in The House with the Mansard Roof and also won the Merton Prize for the Poetry of the Sacred. Matthew Brennan teaches at Indiana State University. His most recent works of poetry are The Sea-Crossing of Saint Brendan (2008), a verse narrative; The House with the Mansard Roof (2009); and a chapbook, The Light of Common Day (2011).