Paul Gauguin: Au Café (Mme. Ginoux) 1888
(also known as Café at Arles)
My elbow’s weight upon the table pressed
Makes me feel strong and calm; for I am sure
That all those blank-eyed men behind me – poor,
Half-drunk, half-sleeping sots, think I too rest
In senseless dreaming sludge. But I am dressed
In formal dark and white. And on the floor
A small cat watches, happily alone, each paw
Set firm, its haunches straight, its breast
Puffed out complacently. The smoky haze
Is like a cloudy screen which severs me
From their dull, doltish world. It is as dense,
As solid as the snooker balls. The days
Of my bold gaming drift off noiselessly.
I sit and almost smile at my good sense.