• Joanna Seldon

  • 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.