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Poem: I Am Van Gogh


The Beautiful Ordinariness of Vincent Van Gogh's Art

I've developed a keen interest in Vincent Van Gogh's art lately. His paintings are so raw and earthy, yet refined and elegant. They stick to me like an earworm, playing in my head over and over. His pictures of people in the villages and fields told me more about him than any biography that I've read.

He often used hundreds of different colored tubes of paint to get the dirt the farmers plowed just right, and in many ways, this behavior defined just how skilled and exact Van Gogh's art was. He made us feel the magic of people in the villages, those rosy-cheeked, broad-shouldered farmers and sturdy women carrying buckets of water across their shoulders.

Sure, Van Gogh lived in the Netherlands and later moved to Paris like most painters of his time. But what made him different to me, was that he was not a member of the noble class but a humble person who admired people who worked with their hands. Van Gogh was a man who loved to capture the ordinary folk doing their mundane jobs and their leisure time activities.

His passion for art and nature's beauty seemed to override his ability to take care of himself. He broke down mentally, spent years in an insane asylum and eventually killed himself. He passed on far too young, missing out on many of the experiences that most of us enjoy. But I'm sure if he could do it all over, he wouldn't have changed a thing.

I Am Van Gogh

I am the swirling blue skies

And crescent moons

Of Van Gogh’s

Starry Nights.

The working men

And women

Of quiet, humble

Neunen village,

Lugging barrels,

Scaling roofs

On narrow ladders,

Walking along

Winding dirt paths

with broad shoulders

and satisfied smiles.

Drinking in French pubs,

families in simple homes

with a desk, a chair

stark surroundings,

life's necessities.

I am the rosy-cheeked farmer

with big, lumbering oxen.

I am the artist

that plows the earth,

that digs up a myriad of colors,

that struggles with his mind

in the loneliness of the night.

I am Van Gogh

buried with my sunflowers,

Forever at the easel,

Painting the green fields

Lined with bright red poppies.

I Am Van Gogh

© 2018 Mark Tulin

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