“Poetry Surrounds Us” – Vincent van Gogh


“The more I think it over, the more I feel that there is nothing more truly artistic than to love people. People are often unable to do anything, imprisoned as they are in I don’t know what kind of terrible, terrible, oh such terrible cage.  Do you know what makes the prison disappear? Every deep, genuine affection. Being friends, being brothers, loving, that is what opens the prison, with supreme power, by some magic force. Without these one stays dead. But whenever affection is revived, there life revives.

If only we try to live sincerely, it will go well with us, even though we are certain to experience real sorrow, and great disappointments, and also will probably commit great faults and do wrong things, but it certainly is true, that it is better to be high-spirited, even though one makes more mistakes, than to be narrow-minded and all too prudent. It is good to love many things, for therein lies the true strength, and whosoever loves much performs much, and can accomplish much, and what is done in love, is well done.

What am I in the eyes of most people? A nonentity, an eccentric, or an unpleasant person — somebody who has no position in society and will never have; in short, the lowest of the low. All right, then — even if that were absolutely true, then I should one day like to show by my work what such an eccentric, such a nobody, has in his heart. That is my ambition, based less on resentment than on love in spite of everything, based more on a feeling of serenity than on passion.

Though I am often in the depths of misery, there is still calmness, pure harmony and music inside me. I see paintings or drawings in the poorest cottages, in the dirtiest corners. And my mind is driven towards these things with an irresistible momentum… Poetry surrounds us everywhere, but putting it on paper is, alas, not so easy as looking at it. I dream my painting, and then I paint my dream.

That God of the clergymen, He is for me as dead as a doornail. But am I an atheist for all that? The clergymen consider me as such — be it so; but I love, and how could I feel love if I did not live, and if others did not live, and then, if we live, there is something mysterious in that. Now call that God, or human nature or whatever you like, but there is something which I cannot define systematically, though it is very much alive and very real, and see, that is God, or as good as God.

To believe in God for me is to feel that there is a God, not a dead one, or a stuffed one, but a living one… When I have a terrible need of — shall I say the word — religion. Then I go out and paint the stars.”

~Vincent van Gogh ~

Source for quotes: Wikiquotes

About Christopher Chase

Co-creator and Admin of the Facebook pages "Tao & Zen" "Art of Learning" & "Creative Systems Thinking." Majored in Studio Art at SUNY, Oneonta. Graduated in 1993 from the Child & Adolescent Development program at Stanford University's School of Education. Since 1994, have been teaching at Seinan Gakuin University, in Fukuoka, Japan.
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17 Responses to “Poetry Surrounds Us” – Vincent van Gogh

  1. Bob OHearn says:

    And it was at that age. . . poetry arrived
    in search of me. I don’t know, I don’t know where
    it came from, from winter or a river.
    I don’t know how or when,
    no, they were not voices, they were not
    words, not silence,
    but from a street it called me,
    from the branches of the night,
    abruptly from the others,
    among raging fires
    or returning alone,
    there it was, without a face,
    and it touched me.
    I didn’t know what to say, my mouth
    had no way with names,
    my eyes were blind.
    Something knocked in my soul,
    fever or forgotten wings,
    and I made my own way,
    that fire,
    and I wrote the first, faint line,
    faint, without substance, pure
    pure wisdom
    of someone who knows nothing;
    and suddenly I saw
    the heavens
    and open,
    palpitating plantations,
    the darkness perforated,
    with arrows, fire and flowers,
    the overpowering night, the universe.

    And I, tiny being
    drunk with the great starry
    likeness, image of
    felt myself a pure part
    of the abyss.
    I wheeled with the stars.
    My heart broke loose with the wind.

    ~Pablo Neruda

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  14. Lost-Boy says:

    can someone explain this quote to me? it seems quite easy but i don’t really get it

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