Song of the Week: “Joe Harper Saturday Morning” by Van Morrison

Van Morrison was born with sixteen red hairs damply coiled on a chest already barrel-thick. His urine smelled of peat. His father said if he ran too fast, his soul would lag behind his body, exposing him to danger in the form of timber trucks and falcons. His mother read to him from the epics of Ossian while four winds from the Baltic stirred the scraggled curtains. At school he was shown a photograph of Blind Willie McTell and spoke to no one for a week. Decades later, in California, he saw a planet through a smeared wine glass held to the night sky and realized he was not alone. The months of tubercular ruminations, the dream of the old queen with the missing ear, who beckoned to him from the aspen grove, the brown rain he accidentally drank—all this was absorbed in the first of many deaths.

-Joe Fletcher

Joe Fletcher is the author of two chapbooks of poetry: Already It Is Dusk (Brooklyn Arts Press) and Sleigh Ride (Factory Hollow Press). Other work can be found in jubilat, Octopus, Slope, Puerto Del Sol, Painted Bride Quarterly, Hoboeye, Hollins Critic, and elsewhere. He lives in Carrboro, North Carolina, and can be found online at

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