Vincent

The Painter on His Way to Work by Van Gogh

Painting destroyed by fire in the Second World War; formerly in the Kaiser-Friedrich-Museum, Magdeburg (Germany)

Once long ago when I knew you for the first time, you showed me this song. I did not understand if it was from you to me or just a song you liked.. but I chose to assume the former because I identify so much with parts of these lyrics.

Download the song here..

Starry, starry night
Paint your palette blue and gray
Look out on a summer’s day
With eyes that know the darkness in my soul
Shadows on the hills
Sketch the trees and the daffodils
Catch the breeze and the winter chills
In colors on the snowy linen land

Now I understand
What you tried to say to me
And how you suffered for your sanity
And how you tried to set them free
They would not listen
They did not know how
Perhaps they’ll listen now

Starry, starry night
Flaming flowers that brightly blaze
Swirling clouds in violet haze
Reflect in Vincent’s eyes of china blue
Colors changing hue
Morning fields of amber grain
Weathered faces lined in pain
Are soothed beneath the artist’s loving hand

Now I understand
What you tried to say to me
And how you suffered for your sanity
And how you tried to set them free
They would not listen
They did not know how
Perhaps they’ll listen now

For they could not love you
But still your love was true
And when no hope was left inside
On that starry, starry night
You took your life as lovers often do
But I could have told you, Vincent
This world was never meant for one
As beautiful as you

Starry, starry night
Portraits hung in empty halls
Frameless heads on nameless walls
With eyes that watch the world and can’t forget
Like the strangers that you’ve met
The ragged men in ragged clothes
The silver thorn of bloody rose
Lie crushed and broken on the virgin snow

Now I think I know
What you tried to say to me
And how you suffered for your sanity
And how you tried to set them free
They would not listen
They’re not listening still
Perhaps they never will..

“Vincent” by Don Mclean is a song that has touched my soul deeply. The first time I read the lyrics, the words “Starry, starry night” immediately told me that the song was about Vincent Van Gogh.

I remember when I first read about Van Gogh. One sunday supplement of The Hindu carried an article on Van Gogh with the picture of a pair of glasses with one ear piece missing.

Later I saw his “Sunflowers“, “Starry night“, “Starry Night over the Rhone” and other paintings. There was something intensely insane about his paintings. Their colours were expressionistic and bizarre. It had an unpredictability to it. The brush strokes had a contained violence, an intensity that screamed to the world. Even the nudes are drawn with so much compassion in an almost childlike way. What a tender heart! The love in it was blatant to the lover but hidden to the blind ones. I love the artist in him.

Yes.. though this is positivist I often believe the life of the artist is closely intertwined with the work he produces.. though one may wish for objectivity in interpreting art, there is absolutely nothing objective about it. In that way, the life of Van Gogh was a saga. The reason for his suicide remains a mystery. Like other times, the rationalists run behind reasoning things out yet love accepts his death and its meaninglessness.

Vincent…Perhaps they’ll listen now..

2 thoughts on “Vincent

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