Monday, October 26, 2009

. . . how you tried to set them free . . .




Vincent


Starry
starry night
paint your palette blue and grey
look out on a summer's day
with eyes that know the
darkness in my soul.


Shadows on the hills
sketch the trees and the daffodils
catch the breeze and the winter chills
in colors on the snowy linen land.


And now I understand what you tried to say to me
how you suffered for your sanity
how you tried to set them free.
They would not listen
they did not know how
perhaps they'll listen now.


Starry
starry night
flaming flo'rs that brightly blaze
swirling clouds in violet haze reflect in
Vincent's eyes of China blue.


Colors changing hue
morning fields of amber grain
weathered faces lined in pain
are soothed beneath the artist's
loving hand.


And now I understand what you tried to say to me
how you suffered for your sanity
how you tried to set them free.
perhaps they'll listen now.


For they could not love you
but still your love was true
and when no hope was left in sight on that starry
starry night.
You took your life
as lovers often do;
But I could have told you
Vincent
this world was never
meant for one
as beautiful as you.


Starry
starry night
portraits hung in empty halls
frameless heads on nameless walls
with eyes
that watch the world and can't forget.
Like the stranger that you've met
the ragged men in ragged clothes
the silver thorn of bloody rose
lie crushed and broken
on the virgin snow.


And now I think I know what you tried to say to me
how you suffered for your sanity
how you tried to set them free.
They would not listen
they're not
list'ning still
perhaps they never will.


Donald McLean, Jr. (born October 2, 1945, New Rochelle, New York) is an American singer-songwriter. He is most famous for the 1971 album American Pie, containing the renowned songs "American Pie", and one of my favourite songs, "Vincent", which is McLean's ode to 19th Century artist Vincent van Gogh.

P.S.   A few hours after posting, Rose Marie Raccioppi from APOGEE Poet left a beautiful comment about Vincent, and I have quoted an excerpt here.  It is too beautiful not to be read by all.  Rose Marie's words and poem are in mauve, while Don McLean's words remain in blue.

"When seeing his original works on exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum, I too thought,

"And now I think I know what you tried to say to me
how you suffered for your sanity
how you tried to set them free."

And I in turn,


Vincent, yours is a world known to me
And I grasp at this meaning of Be
Light and fields, people and purpose defined
And I in plea proclaim do not confine
Bar restraint and perception veiled
Vincent your gift of knowing has prevailed
With awe and sighs anew your art so perceived
And blessed for the inexplicable conceived."


APOGEE Poet

Thank you Rose Marie.  I think I will post my art, define my ideas and then send them to you to compose the text.  So beautifullly expressed - "Vincent your gift of knowing has prevailed"!  Encore, mille mercis.

28 comments:

  1. Oh, so sad. I love that song.
    The picture collage is beautiful!

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  2. How odd that McClean could have such a depth of feel for van Gogh's work. I have had the pleasure of viewing several van Gogh's in person. They are nothing like what one views through a reprint as the brush strokes come to life on his canvases. In a time where portraits with sullen eyes staring back were profitable means for an artist, he saw the beauty and brazen colors of Southern France and balked at the norm. Love his work!

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  3. Quite sad lyrics Bonnie, and yet with an odd kind of beauty.

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  4. Hi Bonnie! I love your collage! There even seems to be a "tree" casting a shadow on a leaf. I saw the symbolism in the song's "snowy linen land" and "virgin snow," the purity of a white palette and canvas, the ability to renew or fall upon it. And it's there in your collage. The sunsets, the "Swirling clouds in violet haze" point to the twilight of his life. It's a beautiful song and your collage represents it beautifully. LOVE xxox

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  5. wow. you know i dont know that i have ever heard those lyrics...haunting as they are in their beauty. nicely played.

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  6. Such a beautiful and melancholy song - there was a powerpoint of his paintings, accompanied by the song, that has been going around for a while. You may have seen it, but I didn't know until then that 'Vincent' referred to Van Gogh.

    This has moved me to play the song again...perfect for a soft, grey day.

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  7. Oh thank you for writing out the lyrics- so beautiful! Your autumn photos are, as well.

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  8. Vincent perceived the vibrating energy of light. He captured the quivering, pulsing fields that embraced his vision. All was moving, all was dimension, all was effect. When seeing his original works on exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum, I too thought,

    "And now I think I know what you tried to say to me
    how you suffered for your sanity
    how you tried to set them free.

    And I in turn,

    Vincent, yours is a world known to me
    And I grasp at this meaning of Be
    Light and fields, people and purpose defined
    And I in plea proclaim do not confine
    Bar restraint and perception veiled
    Vincent your gift of knowing has prevailed
    With awe and sighs anew your art so perceived
    And blessed for the inexplicable conceived.

    APOGEE Poet

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  9. LisanneRosalie: McLean does seem to have captured something that V.v.G.'s life and art embodies for us. It always resonated deeply for me too.

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  10. Alicia: I think what you describe is what McLean is trying to say when he says "you tried to set them free" . . . That phrase could apply to many things - but he did try to free himself by turning to the beauty he found in nature. Unfortunately, some inner torment could not allow him to continue.

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  11. Weaver: Yes. The beauty is there because many of McLean's phrases are describing specific parts of VanGogh's art. It's fun to reread it and see if you can remember the piece of art from the phrase.

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  12. Margaret: Thank you for seeing the effort I put into choosing my pieces for the collage! I was using only my own photographs, so I was limited in my choices - and did the best I could with what I had.

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  13. Brian: You probably would if they were accompanied by their melody. It is quite a classic. Or, you are revealing your youth!!

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  14. Deborah: No I did not see it - and would love to. As I mentionned in a previous comment - most of McLean's phrases refer to a part of VanGogh's collection. I bet the phrases and the images matched in the power point - if they did it right!! :)

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  15. Rose Marie: I am rendered speechless by your comment. Beautiful.

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  16. Bonnie, Synchronicity at its most splendid - Inspired by your post, and the desire to bring this forward, I too, posted a link on my blog to yours, not aware of your generous inclusion of my words, all with the intent of furthering your tribute to Vincent Van Gogh. At this moment I feel like an eight year old girl, jumping with the delight of a most beautiful and caring friend.

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  17. My husband has loved Van Gogh since he discovered him in high school art class (and turned me on to his art) in the 70's and I've worn out at least 2 Don LcLean CD's from playing that song! Great post! Blessings!!

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  18. Rose Marie: Splendid synchronicity is right! That is amazing! Thank you for the link and thank you for allowing me to post your impromtu poem left in my comment section. You are a dear.

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  19. Marion: I love every song on that CD. I originally had an audio tape of it - before my current CD. McLean is an amazing composer/lyricist. Thank you!!

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  20. I've always loved this song...and Vincent's art. What a delight to read this post today!

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  21. Somewhere on YouTube is a copy of McClean's song with art by Van Gogh running in the background. It is brilliantly done, as is your own post today.

    Thanks Bonnie!

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  22. bookbabie:

    Linda Sue:

    Sherry Lee:

    Barry:

    A BIG THANK YOU TO ALL OF YOU!

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  23. I do love that song. I sang it in my head while reading the words. :)

    I love the selection of photos you put together for your collage. A very nice variety of color, nature, light and dark.

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  24. I love that song. I sang it in my head while reading the words. You have a nice variation of photos in your collage - lightness, darkness, color, nature. Very nice.

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  25. I've had that song in my head since the summer (long story!). The good songs will last and last.
    x

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  26. One of my most favorite songs. Ever.

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  27. I have thoroughly enjoyed your post here; both your collage and the lyrics to that beautiful song do Vincent justice.

    If you are interested in Vincent van Gogh, his life, his work, and his myth, I'd suggest taking a look at my artistic project, www.vincentsyellow.com

    His spirit lives on.

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