“View of Haarlem with Bleaching Grounds” by Jacob van Ruisdael

Long rows of cloth,

the city’s riches, whiten

in damp sunlight like claw

marks scraped on the land. Bister

hardens, blue slate glitters

on canted roofs. Wind-blown leaves

flaunt their silver petticoats.

This plain, so painfully flat –

one feels the sea’s approach.

Floating like scum on fertile water,

a thin scurf of wall and roof,

steeple or mill, and rising up,

St. Bavo’s great mass,

size of a thumbprint –

all this dwarfed by the sky –

giant clouds, vestiges

of smoke and bruise, swelling to

some cataclysmic tumble –

the fullness of which we are

only the smallest part.


Lee Rossi’s latest book is Wheelchair Samurai, available from Plain View Press. Recent poems appear in The Clackamas Literary Review and The Chariton Review. He is a member of the Northern California Book Reviewers and a Contributing Editor to Poetry Flash.