“La tristesse durera toujours”
“The sadness will last forever.”
           –Vincent Van Gogh’s final words

Madness stalks me. Through snow it tracks me. Blood on snow razes the mind. Fire rides my nerves. I cover my body in thick mud; smother the flames. I wake in the night and work: digging, sifting, rooting. Faces of strangers are stranger. I cannot avoid what kills, or afford to die.

I need and will never fill.

I will go, telling no one.
I will pack a bag full of secrets.
I will bring a word. The word will be a sword.
I will plan my leaving of this world.

Dawn-light breaks over the fields of Auvers-sur-Oise, where Vincent caught the sun and bled.

When blood escapes the body it cools. The blood on the ground is dust-cold. But the gun is hot, and still the sun is hot. I am holding my blood-hot wound as yellow light departs. The glint is gone.

I hate. I hate this penetrating hate. The sun does not hate—

It welcomes me.



© 2016  Clare L. Martin



March 17th, 2016

Pictured above: Van Gogh’s belived-to-be-last painting, “Wheat Field with Crows.” [Image used for educational purposes.]

Above is a poem I have been working on since 2004. March 30th, 2016 is Van Gogh’s 163rd birthday, and World bipolar day. Many experts believe he was bipolar. I have long identified this with him and have felt myself drawn to his works, for as long as I have been aware of him.

A quote from his letters to Theo, dated July 10, 1890:

They are vast stretches of wheat under troubled skies, and I did not have to go out of my way very much in order to try to express sadness and extreme loneliness…. I’m fairly sure that these canvases will tell you what I cannot say in words, that is, how healthy and invigorating I find the countryside.”

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