July 01, 2010

For Vincent (BTP #9)

 (Wheat Field and Cypresses - Vincent Van Gogh)

Over at http://www.bigtentpoetry.org , the prompt this week was to have a "conversation" with or about something important to you.  I have always wished that I could just sit with Vincent Van Gogh and watch him work, letting him know that what he was accomplishing was more powerful and revolutionary than he realized.  I would never presume that a genius of his caliber would answer my questions, so I did the piece in a slightly different way.

As I look upon your world
of twirling, swirling, dancing skies
created by such magic sight,
a land that only you could see.

I want to come inside that place
of saintly faces plowing earth,
as cypresses reach heavenward
with beseeching limbs unfurled.

Where did you find a palette pure,
That no one else had ever seen,
of greens and blues to make us weep
and golds to take our breath away?

Where sunflowers within a vase
scream of their captivity,
and crows escape to fairer lands,
outrunning their mortality.

How did it feel to be so trapped,
within this solitary life?
Dismissed by lesser, duller men,
convinced the world was only gray.

You had a voice they could not hear,
a language foreign to their ears.
A prophet no one hearkened to,
their hooded eyes could never see.

How I wish you could be born again
into this time of instant praise,
where here we celebrate the new,
And worship to your painted face.
.
.
(Van Gogh's work has always seemed like like the most beautiful melodic poetry to me, but where the lines are moved around and the rhymes disjointed and haphazard - I tried to convey a bit of that while writing this piece.)

19 comments:

  1. Gotta hand it to you, you really did well with this one. It brings to mind the song by Don McClean and I love that song and Van Gogh's work...

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  2. I've always had a hard time writing in response to artwork, and I admire the way you've done it here. Still very visual but also personal.

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  3. I love the idea of asking van gogh about his work -- great idea. I love these lines:

    I want to come inside that place
    of saintly faces plowing earth,
    as cypresses reach heavenward
    with beseeching limbs unfurled.

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  4. Well now! Van Gogh's work is a favorite of mine. I have always found a peacefulness in his work. Isn't amazing that such a tortured life with so many convoluted actions and thoughts could produce such beauty? Good work Cynthia, I enjoyed it immensely.
    Regards,
    DH

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  5. Hi Cynthia,

    Well, you painted quite a picture yourself here. I too love the stanza that Angie selected and the way you've included references to his subjects, style and aspects of his life. Despite your final stanza though, I'd say there are plenty of struggling artists out there today of whom we are simply ignorant or whose work we don't "get"!

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  6. I too, thought of Don McLean and his song. But, also wish, like you, that some of these artists could come back, even if for a few moments, to know the love and awe they have engendered.

    Elizabeth

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  7. Ah, superb! The colors, phraseology and thoughts so nicely cover the canvas of conversation. I love it!

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  8. Cynthia-This is beautiful. It captivated me, and at one point I remembered to breathe. The piece has a beautiful cadence. Awesome post!

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  9. Oh Cynthia I love this!
    Vincent is one of my favourite artists ever.
    I did my thesis on him in universtity. What a sad life he had.
    Pamela

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  10. A beautifully crafted poem, that says all that should be said. Thankyou.
    ViV

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  11. Cynthia, what an original idea...to look at a piece of art and have a conversation with the artist. I have always admired Van Gogh, and your poem asks some good questions!

    http://inthecornerofmyeye.blogspot.com/2010/07/true-tale.html

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  12. Cynthia- I love what you did with this prompt. This is a wonderful poem. I can visualize you having this conversation with Van Gogh. I like the line- where did you get the palette. This is an evocative poem.

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  13. I am pleased that you like Van Gogh's twisted images Cynthia.

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  14. A wonderfully written and vivid piece! Just the thought of having a conversation with an artist, such as Van Gogh, is an amazing one. Great post!

    -Weasel

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  15. Wonderful expression of something I have definitely felt before--the desire to know or speak to an artist who moves me. I saw the Van Gogh exhibit at the LACMA 12 years or so ago, and to be up close and personal with his paintings was an awe-inspiring experience.

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  16. What a magnificent poem! I love it. Of course, many folks have looked at my drawings and paintings and said I have Van Gogh's style... so no wonder I love it, tee hee! But the idea of a conversation with the artist is SO unique!

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  17. Cynthia, what a fine descriptive and appreciative conversation with VVG! I love the image of the vased sunflowers screaming! And the dull men who are convinced the world is only gray. Very insightful. Wonderful take on the life and oeuvre of one of the truly great!

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  18. I love Van Gogh's paintings too, and your piece really captures the feelings they stir when I view them.

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  19. Cynthia this is beautiful.

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