Caught by the River

Van Gogh Fields

Ben Myers | 28th February 2008

Behind me the fields of grass swayed nosily in the breeze.

Perhaps ‘swayed’ doesn’t do this vision justice. Neither, for that matter, does ‘field of grass’.

Let us start this vision again in order to gain a better sense of clarity. After all, there are many depictions of fields within literature which I am competing against.


The field was an emerald tin foil ocean shimmering beneath a strobe light sun.

Incandescent with light and life the field was a symphony of whispers in my ear; each blade of grass, each stalk of green corn was a violin string and the dormant breeze was their conductor jerkily orchestrating them into one complete work that held the secrets of the landscape. Each sound was an instrument, the pond and environs an opulent concert hall for the imagination.

The birds, for example, provided the melodies, each species harmonising with the next. Each sparrow then was a trumpet, four passing crows became saxophones and a wide variety of tits, gulls, widgeons and the like spanned the remaining orchestral gamut from woodwind to brass to string. Violins, violas, double basses, French horns, tubas, oboes, bassoons, contrabassoons – the entire ensemble represented.

A distant woodpecker provided intermittent percussion, as did the occasional satisfying sound of a fishing reel being quickly and mechanically operating, clicking like a man-made mating call.

Planes overhead, the throat-clearing cough of an angler on the distant bank, the splash of a trout leaping and pirouetting, the click of branch on branch, the quiet sigh of a cloud basking in the afternoon warmth; each became an instrument, a small piece of the aural tapestry.

The symphony grew with the breeze until the droll baritone clang of a flat-bed truck a mile or so away across the fields became the timpani’s finite knell as the conductor concluded with a frenzy of gestures so violent that a lock of hair loosened itself from his well-gelled comb-over and the fields of grass swayed in the breeze as noisy as an unsold Van Gogh painting in the ear of its tormented lovesick creator, as violent and vibrant as the visions that gingerly flooded his eyes with unfulfilled promises.


Taken from a work-in-progress by Ben Myers. Ben’s second novel The Missing Kidney is published Spring 2008 by Social Disease.