Help Me Understand, Monsieur Vincent–dVerse Open Link Night

Help Me Understand, Monsieur
an Echo Poem

Monsieur Vincent, are those your boots?
My boots?
They speak of pain, hard work and tears.
And years,
of agony, darkness and loss.
The cross.

Or did they belong to some miner who died
To those you served in those early days?
I prayed.
Those days of darkness and loss and tears.
And fear.

Monsieur Vincent, why did you try?
To die?
You saw the world in orange and blue.
True blue.
A world of agony, darkness and pain.
No gain.

Did you wear those boots the day you died,
I tried
and failed to find the love you sought
For naught
You never knew fame, only darkness and pain,
In vain?

Last week, Mary introduced us to the Echo Poem. I wasn’t able to participate then, but chose an old poem that I had filed in my binder titled “Edit or Trash” to rewrite using this technique. The form lent itself to a sort of dialogue with Vincent Van Gogh–someone I really hope to meet in the (not) distant future. In his early years he chose to minister to miners who lived (and died) in the worst of circumstances. He failed, even in that ministry.

And so, here is the first draft of a revision–if that’s not an oxymoron–for dVerse Open Link Night. Please join us with a poem of your own and be a part of the conversation led by Bjorn about performance poetry. 

47 thoughts on “Help Me Understand, Monsieur Vincent–dVerse Open Link Night

  1. Ayala says:

    You did a great job, Victoria. I love his paintings, always have.


  2. Myrna says:

    I’m not writing a poem here, but do echo many of the comments already made. You captured the sad essence of VanGogh’s life and somehow touched mine. Lovely write Victoria.


  3. Ava Hypatia says:

    I was studying the Echo Poem style from the last challenge, and your “echoes” really hit me hard and well, thank you.


  4. jewel grey says:

    This is my favorite line: “You saw the world in orange and blue.” I can relate to that, for sure.


  5. C.C. says:

    Love the way you wrote this in a way that tells a story. Really clever.


  6. Bryan Ens says:

    Wonderful dialogue. I love VanGogh’s art, and I think you captured his spirit in this dialogue.


  7. Boots Struggling
    changing few shoes
    liGhtiNg Feat..
    Artists histoRinGinG
    Lore wear
    IN tatteRings
    Shoeless Blue NOW..:)


  8. kaykuala h says:

    A world of agony, darkness and pain.

    It captures very accurately the directions in life that van Gogh went through. Such a tragedy on such a brilliant mind. Great write Victoria!


    Liked by 1 person

  9. Sumana Roy says:

    this is a great homage in a perfect form…love the depth and the conversation…

    Liked by 1 person

  10. This is so deep and rhythmic. It reads like a story and a song.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Oh now I’m getting the idea behind the form. Cool stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. thotpurge says:

    Think you’ve just taken this form and rocked it! Excellent!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Grace says:

    Really like the echo verse Victoria ~ There is a lingering back story with the refrain of To die & darkness & pain~

    Happy week ahead ~

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Sanaa Rizvi says:

    You never knew fame, only darkness and pain,
    In vain?

    Such a deep & emotive echo verse.
    Well penned 😀

    Lots of love,

    Liked by 1 person

  15. kanzensakura says:

    Bravissimo!!!!! This was worth the wait. Oh how you just worked so much into the lines and how your echoes made them deeper. Wonderful poem, wonderful form. Standing O for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I think this is my favorite echo poem so far. Beautiful! I love Van Gogh — he lived such a tragic life but saw things is such a beautiful way. Dr. Who did a Van Gogh episode in which the Dr. and his companion Clara go back in time and meet him. In the end, they bring him back to the present to see the gallery filled with his paintings, thinking it would give him hope so that he would not take his own life. Alas, it was to no avail. Changing his tragic existence was not possible. Peace, Linda

    Liked by 1 person

    • I saw a documentary positing that he didn’t actually commit suicide but that he let it be thought that that is what happened. He was protecting a child who was playing with a gun and shot him. There is some documentation to this effect. Who knows?

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Abhra says:

    “and failed to find the love you sought
    For naught
    You never knew fame, only darkness and pain,
    In vain?”

    You went so very deep with the emotional echoes – such valuable life and for what – in vain?

    Liked by 1 person

  18. kelly says:

    Oh, you did such a great job with it! And the subject matter is near and dear to my heart, I have always loved his painting, but in truth, even more so his words, I still re-read his published letters and journals every so often. I really loved this one!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Misky says:

    This is a wonderful example of the form. I particularly liked “Those days of darkness and loss and tears….And fear.”

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Gabriella says:

    Like Björn, I saw this painting in Amsterdam and would not mind seeing it again. I remember how dark his first paintings were. This morning on the contrary I had an appointment in an office where a much brighter one hang on the wall. It seems his work brightened as his soul darkened. Great use of the echo form!

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Oh this is just marvelous.. the connection to that painting (yes I remember the painting from visiting the van Gogh museum).. the echo form is flawless and the echo a perfect complement..

    Liked by 1 person

  22. X says:

    Nice play on the echo verse. And I like how you expanded it a bit from one word to a few words with each echo. I wonder at his motivation. They seem to be workers boots. I wonder if he knew who, or if they just caught his eye. Obviously well broken.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. claudia says:

    i visited the van gogh museum in amsterdam a few years back and learned quite a bit about his story… tough life and a pair of boots can surely speak volumes and tell so many stories about their owner – love the painting as well

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Glenn Buttkus says:

    This was a perfect echo poem, & somehow it resonated emotionally for me; loved the lines /Did you wear those boots the day you died?/–I tried/. You know imaginary conversations with famous people, regardless of the form, would make a terrific MTB one day.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Mary says:

    Wow! Wow! You really aced the echo form with grace, Victoria. I am awed by the tale & the echoes! Yours is one to emulate….smiles.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. lupitatucker says:

    Oh my goodness, Victoria! I am sorry, I thought I was reading Bjorn’s blog, as they all came up on my feed at once. Please forgive me!!


  27. lupitatucker says:

    I think you did a great job reworking this poem, Bjorn! I love the use of the painting to create the dialogue, which I think works well here. The questions do echo in our minds, and the italics add to the conversation. It is a compelling read.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Oh those boots – they speak volumes of a life hard led. The poem’s form is perfect for this theme,

    Liked by 1 person

  29. scillagrace says:

    I really like this one. It reminds me of Don MacLean’s “Starry, Starry Night” song. Artists’ tribute to an artist.

    Liked by 1 person

Your comment and feedback are important to me. Thank you.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s