Author: Will Sachiksy PM
A prose-poem on van Gogh, value, and the toils of a creator.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Poetry - Words: 318 - Published: 05-14-10 - Status: Complete - id: 2807110
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In a French asylum, a young man locks himself in his second bedroom and, stirred by old agitations and the visions of the previous night, begins to paint. He is allowed only short, supervised walks from the monastery, and there, among the low Alpilles, the cypress branches heavy with needles and age, the slanting roofs and towering churches, he finds God. The stars call to him, as they once did above the gas lamps on the banks of the Rhone. With wild swirls and thick, tactile strokes, he teases out the forms until nature, under the strain of his brush, shimmers, halo-like, on the canvas. He paints around everything: the bars on his windows, the lay of the land, even his interminable sorrow. Everything falls away before his labor in gobs of copper and muted blues. He will later look upon this work with dissatisfaction, as a carpenter looks upon an old, warped plank of wood, and continue painting. Within a year, he will die from complications of a gunshot wound, and it will be a great loss to the world.
The acts, artifacts, and work that continue after the end of its creator makes us wonder—and yet, something of the creator lives on in the creation, or everything, as some French film critics say. It is in Milton's blindness that we find the force of his images, in Dickens's poverty the richness of his characters, in the toils of countless Chinese the majesty of the Wall. Even now, I wonder what miserable trifles will be my legacy. What toils shall I offer to a discerning world: a Presidential Scholar award; several studiously upkept video subscriptions; a collection of fine notebooks, their pages blemished with a line or two of cheap poetics and sterile of thought?
For Jorge Luis Borges, to whose prose-poetry in The Maker, particularly "The Witness," I have paid homage.