more van Gogh

Once in a while my memory of having written something intersects with my ability to find it. I wrote this about Vincent van Gogh in 2003, beside a lake in Kansas. Which is relevant only in that it shows we all carry each other into all kinds of places.

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Vincent (in gratitude)

 

 

Cedars twist in spirals toward and against the water colored skies of middle earth,
lit by the unencumbered light of afternoon sun,
their green boughs becoming blue, then clear, then one with
the air.

 

Sunflowers bow and bless, and another dances while still another, with others,
faces the cedar-filled sunshine and sea-blueness becomes light,
and reflects in all the directions of the wind the golden yellow essence
found elsewhere only on the legs of bees.

 

There’s a farmer now, and his wife, tired backs perceived beneath work-wrinkled muslin,
gathering potatoes in their hands and absorbing the colors they are immersed in,
trying to keep them in the gray grasp of their toil,
but unable to,
thank God, unable to.

 

Vincent, like a candle, lit the darkness of their lives,
and sent the colors on beyond them, on beyond himself,
on beyond the calendars and clocks that would have marked their appearance
in the black ink of crushed linen papers ensconced in piled ledgers
in a cellar somewhere in the Loire,
had anyone besides Vincent,
seen them..

 

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My Favorite Song (always needs to be heard)..Starry Starry Night by Don McLean

“Starry Starry Night” was written in 1971 by singer Don McLean. Inspired by a biography of Vincent van Gogh, the title was derived from what is the best known of van Gogh’s paintings, Starry Night. For over thirty years now, I find myself from time to time, whistling, humming, or singing this song to myself.

Or maybe not.

I think sometimes I am singing it to van Gogh himself. There are paintings and other works of art which evoke an almost worshipful response in me, but van Gogh’s painting do so more than any others. To say why is perhaps to bare my own feelings in an uncomfortable way; however, I’ve found, they are not unique feelings at all, but shared by many.

Van Gogh could never do what he did best, as perfectly as he wanted. The fact that his paintings did not sell seemed, for him, to confirm that self-assessment of his work. As one writer has written, “He loved his paintings, but they could not love him back.” He absorbed, in an unhealthful but inevitable manner, the human hurts and sadness around him, and exaggerated it all as his own. No matter what other joy or happiness he may have realized from time to time- and he did- the sometimes small, often large current of empathetic sadness flowed always though his soul. There are no smooth lines in his paintings, just as he could see no smooth, even, clean lines in the world around him.

Nonetheless, van Gogh loved passionately, so passionately and with such intensity that it hurt him. The beauty he saw in the fields, skies, flowers, and cedars reflected the beauty, however lined or imperfect, which he also saw in the face of each person. The love for his world can be felt in each of his paintings,but the frustration he felt in not being able love enough is also apparent.

In 2002, I stood in front of one van Gogh’s self portraits in the Musee d’Orsay in Paris. McLean’s song was, of course, running through my mind as I whispered, “Thank you” and promised that the next time, I would bring flowers.

La tristesse durera toujours…”the sadness will last forever” (Vincent’s last written words)

Airplane Crash, Death- A Happy Song by Bright Eyes

Yeah, that’s what this video seems to be about, but just try to watch it without feeling happy at the end. I’ve written the sung lyrics here so you can even sing along if you’d like!

“At the Bottom of Everything” by Bright Eyes

There are some major truths within these lyrics- I’ll write some more about them soon. In the meantime, look for some of those truths yourself. Why are we smiling at the end of the song? Is it just the great graphics or is there more? I’d love to hear your comments. I think many people are wanting to know about death, and be less afraid of it, possibly even learn about embracing it. Maybe you can help them do that.

Or maybe it’s not about death at all, but something else..whaddayathink?

If you’d rather keep your comments private, send them to thefirstmorning@yahoo.com

The sung lyrics:

One, Two, One, Two, Three, Four
We must talk in every telephone, get eaten off the web
We must rip out all the epilogues from the books we have read
And to the face of every criminal strapped firmly to a chair
We must stare, we must stare, we must stare.

We must take all of the medicines too expensive now to sell
Set fire to the preacher who is promising us hell
And in the ear of every anarchist that sleeps but doesn’t dream
We must sing, we must sing, we must sing.

And it’ll go like this
While my mother waters plants my father loads his gun.
He says, “Death will give us back to God,
just like the setting sun
is returned to the lonesome ocean.”

And then they splashed into the deep blue sea.
It was a wonderful splash.

We must memorize nine numbers and deny we have a soul,
And to this endless race for property and privilege to be won
We must run, we must run, we must run.

We must hang up in the belfry where the bats in moonlight laugh
We must stare into a crystal ball and only see the past
And in the caverns of tomorrow with just our flashlights and our love
We must plunge, we must plunge, we must plunge.

And then we’ll get down there,
way down to the very bottom of everything
and then we’ll see it, oh we’ll see it, we’ll see it, we’ll see it.

Oh my morning’s coming back
The whole world’s waking up
Oh the city bus is swimming past.
I’m happy just because
I found out I am really no one.

It’s a Great Story: Paul Potts Wins !

I’ve followed this story like a schoolgirl follows whatever boy band of the moment happens to be hot stuff. I am addicted to watching, enjoying, and sometimes even getting the opportunity of participating in the transformatiom of individuals from what they are to what they are becoming. Even better than his winning the “Britain’s Got Talent” competition, however, is the growing confidence in himself that Potts talks of. That’s what transformation- bottom line- is about: an appreciation for oneself.

Yes, the program is hokey. Yes, the drama is milked by the producers for all of the sponsor’s money they can get. No, the competition doesn’t mean much in the great scheme of world politics and economies.

But it does mean that at least one more person gets to experience self-acceptance, and to know that others appreciate him. And those are just wonderful things to behold..

Here’s the announcement of the Win, and a rerun of Potts’ final performance:

Stand Still Like the Hummingbird..

I wrote this a couple Sunday mornings ago, but didn’t share it with anyone. Maybe someone could use it today:

It is raining very hard this morning. Thunder and lightening are punctuating a dark, dark sky and I have been up for hours. I tried to go back to sleep by watching an old movie on Turner Broadcasting, the name of which I’ve already forgotten and will never remember again, but it was about a young Nazi who was brought to an American home during the War as an exchange student and who set about to disrupt the family, and who was foiled in his attempts to do so through the kindness of a Jewish woman (of course) and I’ve decided that aside from “Casablanca,” the dialogue of 1940s movies is always so stilted, formal, and utterly lacking in passion that I will from this day forward always choose to watch something else, anything else. It’s hard to realize what an effective propaganda tool the movies were during the War.

And I have a bit of a stomach ache, a bit of a headache, and while I was lying on the couch trying to sleep, my neck became sore.

Poor me. And church starts in just a few hours and after church we must drive two hours to Dallas for three days of Church Conference meetings.

But:

“When you find you can go neither backward or forward, when you discover that you are no longer able to stand, sit or lie down, when your children have died of malnutrition and your aged parents have been sent to the poorhouse or the gas chamber, when you realize that you can neither write nor not write, when you are convinced that all the exits are blocked, either you take to believing in miracles or you stand still like the hummingbird. The miracle is that the honey is always there, right under your nose, only you were too busy searching elsewhere to realize it. The worst is not death but being blind, blind to the fact that everything about life is in the nature of the miraculous.”

Henry Miller, Stand Still Like the Hummingbird

Eight Love Poems..from ‘The Sun’

A many course meal served in small bites, from ‘The Sun’, a monthly magazine of essays, short stories, and poetry. Each issue has a general, but not exclusive theme. The June issue’s theme is Love, and this is a piece called ‘Eight Love Poems’ by Sparrow:

Question                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Can two nations                                                                                                                                                                                   fall in love?

Love                                                                                                                                                                                                 Love                                                                                                                                                                                                         is the                                                                                                                                                                                             first                                                                                                                                                                                               word                                                                                                                                                                                                       we don’t                                                                                                                                                                                                say to                                                                                                                                                                                         everyone.

A Phrase One Never Hears                                                                                                                                                             “My lover and I are doing our taxes.”

Sunlight                                                                                                                                                                                       Sunlight                                                                                                                                                                                             loves to fall                                                                                                                                                                                             on a bed.

Two Professors                                                                                                                                                                                When two professors                                                                                                                                                                             fall in love,                                                                                                                                                                                         their students rejoice.

Named                                                                                                                                                                                                    We are all named                                                                                                                                                                                   out of love-for                                                                                                                                                                                                            an uncle, a cousin,                                                                                                                                                                                    a dead violinist.

Often we forget                                                                                                                                                                                    the love in our names.

The Moon                                                                                                                                                                                             The moon loves                                                                                                                                                                               snow, because                                                                                                                                                                                         it reflects.

Ten Commandments                                                                                                                                                                        The Ten Commandments                                                                                                                                                                    do not                                                                                                                                                                                            mention love.

 

Just Because..it’s Conny, singing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”

More from “Britain’s Got Talent.’ This one, you’ll think at first is just “cute.” But the little girl is terrific..

Conny

Need more “Rainbow?” Here’s Eva Cassidy, who only a few people heard of before she died of melanoma ten years ago. Her version of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” is a prayer, it’s beyond mere singing, as was almost everything Eva sang. If you haven’t heard of her before, watch this. You’ll thank me.

Eva Cassidy