A man without an ear had no friends
To show him the face of compassion
To lend him an ear to listen always
To the cries of a soul grim and ashen
Lost in the gallery of a dark house
Where nature oppressed ruled the mind
And commended it to suffer with the body.
The Studio of the South in tatters
assailed a reservoir of dreams;
The Southern Sun of Arles in shreds
speared his soul with a shout of taunts
And made his heart sink in the abyss
Till it burst with an outcry evermore
Of the man with the unseen voices
That grew loud and grew louder
As he was estranged from himself
And left the world with a thunder
Of fire, a fire of freedom from
The frights of the broken soul.
Thereby hangs a tale of a painter
Breathed with poetic madness of arts.
P.S.: I have recently come across an article about the nature of Vincent Van Gogh’s mental illness that eventually resulted in his suicide in May 1889 with a pistol that punctured his heart in Saint-Paul-de-Mausole asylum in Sant Remy, France.
It is said that Gogh had shown symptoms of disturbed mental states since he was 17 years old when his parents tried to get him committed. He was later seen eating coals while painting and told of hearing voices and seeing hallucinations. As a matter of fact, Gogh was from a family with a history of mental illness: his maternal aunt was epileptic, and two of his siblings died in asylums and two others by suicide. Surely, this doesn’t aver that mental illness is hereditary and therefore brings grist to the mill of eugenists.
In my opinion, it seems more likely that Gogh’s tragic life story comes from a combination of Gogh’s disappointment with the failed reception of his works and frustration with his ability to deal with the existential reality interacting with the unfavorable circumstances surrounding his struggles to mark his existence through a medium of art, which deserves of recognition for its beauty of his highly innate artistic sensibilities that glow in the dark night of the soul. To me, whether Gogh was clinically insane is to miss the gift of the artist to humankind that always thrives in the beauty of arts.
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