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Visiting Vincent poem

January 31st, 2018 · 3 Comments · Poetry

Visiting . Vincent



I got this invitation

To take a crazy trip down south

From a blazing young artist

Dripping colors from his mouth.


So I got myself a ticket

On the Starry Night Express

Heading out of Holland

To the province of Excess.


I’d never met the man

Who turned the Seine to yellow,

But he seemed like such a happy cat,

I had to meet this fellow.


So I bought some wine in Arles,

And went looking for his house,

Knowing like I know artists,

He was probably a souse.


I wandered past the bridges,

And the boats upon the shore,

Then to his yellow house did I

Come rapping on his door.


“Oh Vincent, my good fellow,”

I called out, halfway nervous,

“I’ve come from Holland, I’ve got some wine,

My friend, I’m at your service.”


Creaking up his tiny stairs,

The walls were streaked with paint,

All was quiet, holy, skill,

Like the cloister of a saint.


With my heart a’clippin’ faster

Than the tracks of that Starry train,

I pushed his door and stepped beyond

The threshold of the sane.


Upon his walls were sunflowers

Twisted and blazing yellow,

Not one I tell you, but rows of them,

In a most glorious welcoming “Hello.”


I suddenly knew him so much more,

His art was so alive,

I thought he was in the room with me,

And it took minutes to derive,


It was but his bed, his smock, his hat,

That made me feel his presence,

That, and the tingling joyous buzz

Of his dripping oil presents.


Following a hunch,

I went to the Night Cafe,

Even though it was technically,

The middle of the day.


I ordered up some absinthe,

And took a look around,

But no where in this swirling bar

Was my Vincent to be found.


Then from a table against a wall

The woman of the house looked up,

“Madame Ginoux,” she said,

As she offered me a cup.


In broken French I asked her

If she knew my painter friend,

She smiled a twinkle, said “Let me tell you,”

Then I thought it’d never end . . .


The tales she spun of nights he’d spent

Arguing in a rage,

Ranting loudly, pounding tables,

But with the wisdom of a sage.


“Roulin, come join us,” she suddenly called

To a portly passing postman,

Approaching came a bearded gent,

Much kindlier than most men.


“Bonjour!” he boomed,

Sticking out his hand,

As Madame Ginoux described my plight,

I was blessed in Vincentland.


He smiled as I explained

Why I’d come this far,

And what it was about Vincent’s art,

In the way he caught a star.


Assured that I was true of heart

Roulin released the news,

He’d seen him on the road today,

Armed with easels and his muse.


Wandering to’rd the wheatfields,

Roulin had seen him go,

“It’s his latest love, those glowing fields

That God Himself did sow.”


Honored with this sacred tip,

I followed the Golden Path,

It felt like I’d been baptized

In a champion’s Champaign bath.


Past cypress trees and orchards,

I wandered sun-drenched lanes,

Yielding power with each new step,

The Gods’ hands upon the reigns.


The wheatfields blew like ocean waves,

Then I spotted something bobbing,

An easel’s peak, like a sail,

Of a tiny ship a’lobbing.


My heart was pounding, I took a step

Into Vincent’s sacred earth,

It came alive, my God I swear,

Just broaching his flaming hearth.


There was Vincent! Brush in hand!

Raging against the night,

There was Vincent fighting off

The dying of the light.


Palette weaving, body soaring,

I felt myself in air,

Vincent swirling, never knowing,

That I was even there.


But the sun was growing ever larger

Engulfing the fading sky,

Into a giant wash of color

I felt my body fly.


I lost my mind, lost regret,

Like Icarus I soared,

Wings be-damned, with Vincent’s heart,

Through the sky I roared,


Into a world he knew so well,

His beaming light a’glow,

All the artists lived up here,

Hey, there’s Michelangelo!



Through purples and yellows and orange and green,

Heaven’s alive in you know what I mean.


It’s there on the wall, it’s in the “seeing,”

It’s in the eyes of every being.


And then I fell into a field — and Vincent now was gone,

But I never did come back from that trip that I was on.


Through purples and yellows and orange and green,

Through Vincent’s eyes I’ve seen what he’s seen.


Through exploding yellow and cascading light,

In Vincent’s world I’ve lived my life.




Here’s a piece about the excellent Loving Vincent movie.

Here’s a real-life Adventure Poem about the Dalai Lama in Central Park.



by Brian Hassett  —   —

Or here’s my Facebook account if you wanna follow things there —


3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Scott Moore // Jan 31, 2018 at 9:47 PM

    Thank you for sharing this lively and colorful piece, nice work Brian. It is really a fun poem to read.

  • 2 Deb Reul // Feb 1, 2018 at 6:11 AM

    Fantastic! What a trip. I remember you doing this with David at the Living Room and some other places back in the day. Thanks for the memory.

  • 3 Chris Welch // Feb 2, 2018 at 9:25 PM

    This is so great! I just read it out loud for Sarah and London. We all loved it. Thanks so much for the after-dinner treat. xxxooo

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