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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Art (01/18/07)

TITLE: Van Gogh Self-Portrait
By Susan Gibson
01/20/07


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You taunt me from your painting with those wintry, Delft-blue eyes;
Your look dares me to think you are as crazy as they say.
Defiant pride prevents your looking back or looking in.
You miss the incongruity the bandage canít conceal;
White gauze canít hide the tragic prison of your tortured soul.

The drama of your passion has enriched our modern world
In ways you never could have guessed or known or even dreamed.
Your robust sensitivity commands a deep respect
And only the most wealthy can afford to own your work.
Could you even start to grasp the gift you have been given?

Your sunflowers play a symphony of ochre, yellow, gold;
Indigo and sapphire swirl around your starry night.
I almost hear the cinnabar and crimson as they play
A counterpoint with countless shades of emerald, lime and jade.
Wild eddies of your brush strokes suggest a frantic haste,
Did you expect your flame of genius to be quenched too soon?

Did no one ever tell you of the One who could have healed,
Could cast out all the demons from your mind and from your soul?
Could you have comprehended that the One who gave the gift
Was also He who gave Himself to free you from your hell?
Perhaps you really knew Him; there are no guarantees.
A perfect life will only be the day He takes us home.


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Member Comments
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Sharlyn Guthrie01/27/07
hmmm...an interesting character study. You obviously put a great deal of thought into the wording and the rhythm of your poem. Nice job.
julie wood01/31/07
I was deeply moved by this poem! I read a fictionalized biography of Van Gogh and was fascinated by his life and his personality--in many ways can identify with him. Your vivid writing brings him to life for me as well.

In answer to the poem's final question, yes--this artist did know his Creator and in the early part of his life was actually an active and dedicated missionary to a coal mining community! But he was frowned upon by his superiors for choosing to live among the miners as one of them and to selflessly care for all their needs--and this hypocricy alienated him from the church and eventually from all organized "religion."