Thursday, November 11, 2021

A faith

Now I as a painter shall never stand for anything of importance.
~Vincent Van Gogh

A poem for artists, teachers, parents, mentors, inventors, gift-givers of every kind:

What Vincent Couldn't See
by Tabatha Yeatts

If I could journey back a hundred and thirty years
to visit Vincent, interrupt him as he sat

composing a letter to Theo or gazing at the sky
and seeing brush strokes there,

if I could speak the truth of the iris shirts
and sunflower posters, the ginger-haired actors

with starring roles, the admiration glimmering
like moonlight in a rainy street, the applause

that travels through the ages steady as a
steam engine driving past a field of grain,

could he believe in a love that never
touched him at all?

Vincent could witness many worlds
others did not see, but not that.

Can a person approach this world
with a faith in love unfelt, unknown?

Not faith that entire museums
will be devoted to their work,

but confidence in an unknown person
for whom your efforts will be a spark,

someone whose light will catch
by the gentle curve of your flame

leaning across time and space
to ignite.


Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Matt!


Linda Mitchell said...

Tabatha, this is a stunning poem...and relevant to today. So many young people cannot feel the love that they already or the hope of love they will have around them someday. Sadly, I couldn't swing tickets to the show downtown. But, I've heard marvelous things about it. Sending love to you, who thought to let him know of the T-shirts and gingerhaired actors and all that are love from his work, his mind.

Matt Forrest Esenwine said...

Your poem reminds me of Don McLean's "Vincent" - not just because of the subject, but because both recognize the artist's opinion of himself and the world and give him the respect he's due.

Linda B said...

Oh, to have him, & others, see the gifts they give the world! Beautifully thoughtful, Tabatha. Sometimes when I taught, I saw that was my sole goal, to help those children see that they had much to share with the world.

jama said...

Beautiful and poignant, Tabatha.

"someone whose light will catch
by the gentle curve of your flame

leaning across time and space
to ignite" is sublime. :)

Karen Eastlund said...

I agree, Tabatha... this is gorgeous and explores an essential part of life: the foundational confidence of knowing one is loved. If only he knew!!!

Jeanne said...

That "faith in love" is so important. It fuels the perseverance a writer must have! A very nice poem.

KatApel - said...

What a stunning layered poem, Tabatha. How clever you are. And how important is love.

Mary Lee said...

The timing of this poem couldn't be more perfect for me. The Columbus Museum of Art has a new Van Gogh exhibit just open, and in a week and a half we'll be going to the Van Gogh interactive. Plus, this autumn, more than any other, I'm questioning my place in the world -- have I made / do I make any difference at all? As a teacher, I was always aware that I wouldn't know what would come of the seeds I'd planted...but I was continuously planting. I'll channel your poem and do my best to have "faith in love unfelt, unknown"

Thank you.

Janice Scully said...

This is lovely, Tabatha. We act, do what we do, not ever knowing what will become of anything we care about or leave behind.

Margaret Simon said...

I am so touched by this poem. When I visited France years ago we went to Auvers-sur-Oise where Van Gogh is buried beside his brother. I felt such a closeness to him and that emptiness you capture so well in this poem. I mourned that he didn't know who he was and would be for so many. His art withstands the test of time. I am wishing to see the exhibit but it's not coming close to me. Thanks for sharing.

Denise Krebs said...

What a great hope, Tabatha, that someone would find inspiration from the work of others. I like that you pointed out not a whole museum full, necessarily, but we can all hope that we could have...
"confidence in an unknown person
for whom your efforts will be a spark,"

Beautiful thoughts expressed so vividly in your description of Van Gogh's work.

Ruth said...

I love this! Have you seen the Dr. Who episode with Vincent?

Carol Labuzzetta said...

Tabatha, I love this poem to Vincent! I had the pleasure of traveling to The Netherlands in 2016 and realized that I love the Dutch Masters. Vermeer is my favorite but Van Gogh is a close second! My youngest son is an artist - only 20 - he is making his living from selling his art. He feels the love and support of his followers - Oh if Vincent could have only..... Thanks for this thought-provoking poem. It' a winner!

Michelle Kogan said...

Gorgeous poem Tabatha, I hope that bits of it travel to Vincent out there somewhere between "The Starry Night" and Star Dust… Love all the metaphors in it too, thanks! And oh how so many of us are misunderstood, your poem hits here and stirs our hearts!

Jone said...

It's such a beautiful poem, Tabatha. It makes me want to have a copy to take when I see the Van Gogh Immersive exhibit next month.