Wet and Aggressive Corella challenges Magpie

Wet and Aggressive Corella challenges Magpie

Thursday, 20 February 2020

WEP/ISWG February 2020 Challenge - Cafe Terrace





The WEP/IWSG Challenge is back.  Huge thanks to the organisers and participants.  A visit HERE will give access to a range of talented (so very talented) and different takes on the theme.  I do hope you will visit others and applaud them.  Names will be added over the next couple of days and a revisit is always worthwhile. 

Despite loving Van Gogh's work I struggled with this prompt.  Really struggled.  So I went back to first principles, reading about the man and his work.  And yes, the cafe depicted in this stunning painting has indeed been restored and is now the Cafe Van Gogh.



***


Cafe Van Gogh



You didn't sign Cafe Terrace at Night.

You didn't need to.
It is unmistakably, undeniably yours.

'The night is more alive and more richly colored than the day' you wrote to your sister,
and emphatically proved it.
I can smell the tobacco, the wine, the coffee.
I hear the clink of glasses,  the murmur of voices.
I feel the crisp bite to the air and those cobbled stones underfoot.
And I revel in the light of that glorious starry sky,
the very first of your now famous starry skies.

Your painting was ignored  or dismissed by your contemporaries,
as you were.
It was painted two short years before you died,
died in poverty and despair.

That cafe has now been recreated, restored,
and reincarnated as the Cafe Van Gogh.

More than a hundred years later
I grieve.
I grieve for you, and
I grieve for the artists who have died and those who will die,
will die like you, unappreciated,
drowned by their poverty and despair.
And I wonder just what it will take before their names join yours,
and are blazoned across starry skies.
  


188 words.
Full critique acceptable.


150 comments:

  1. OMG, EC:) This is absolutely beautiful. You made the café and its environs come to life AND paid homage to a great artist who wasn't appreciated in his time, which is always sad. Kudos.

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  2. Love this Sue! Like you, I struggled with this prompt, but went in a slightly different direction.
    I love the 2nd person pov - and the emotions! Really well done!

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    1. Jemi Fraser: I am (sort of) glad to hear that others struggled with this prompt. Your struggles were completely invisible though.

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  3. Love your take. Thank you.
    I too am moved by the fact that he only sold 1 picture before his death. So cruel when we know how much his pictures exchange hands today for.

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    1. Carole: Thank you so much. I really, really liked your piece, but since I don't play FB was unable to comment.

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  4. An exquisite homage to a man who struggled with mental issues. His paintings set a high standard.

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  5. What a lovely tribute to van Gogh and beautiful writing, made me almost teary. There have been so many artists who were unknown before they died.

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    1. Jo: What a lovely thing to say. I struggle with the concept of artists (whatever their genre) receiving no recognition while they are alive. It seems so wrong. It is wrong.

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    2. We think our son-in-law is a much unappreciated artist as are so many.

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    3. Jo: Too many. Way too many. I hope your son-in-law accepts and believes your praise.

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    4. There's a link on my blog if you are interested. Top right at the side.

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    5. Jo: I am interested and will be over to check it our shortly.

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    6. Jo: Colour me awed. And delighted.

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  6. It's deeply earnest and shreds up my heart a bit.
    Perfectly appropriate and appreciated, EC.
    Thank you.

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  7. Wow! Seriously, stunning, and beautifully written words!

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    1. jono: Welcome and many thanks. If you visit the WEP link you will find some amazing takes on the prompt.

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  8. Beautifully written, and a poignant sentiment, too. Well done. :-)

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    1. Diane Henders: Thank you. I am in awe at creativity, and artist enrich my world. The thought of them dying in unappreciated poverty makes my heart ache.

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  9. This is so lovely, Sue. The artists of this world are so under appreciated yet without them, there would be little or any joy.

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    1. Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe: I am a beauty addict and am endlessly grateful to artists. So many artists.

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  10. Lovely, a fitting tribute to Van Gogh, the Café Terrace, and all artists the world over!

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  11. A marvelous tribute to the unappreciated artists everywhere. Thank you.

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    1. Olga Godim: I am endlessly grateful to artists and do my best to thank them (sadly too many of the posthumously).

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  12. This was so touching! I loved the letter to Van Gogh. Here's to research. It always pays off.

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    1. cleemckenzie: Research is always a boon - even when it takes my willing self down rabbit holes. Lots of rabbit holes.

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  13. You captured how i feel about him, too.

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  14. I'm not sure I can improve on what others have already said, but this is wonderful! Both celebratory of his life and a deep sadness for what could have been so different during his life.
    You point to the fact that the world still treats artists with disdain even now, only to discover the talent after they're gone. Poignant writing and beautifully delivered. Bravo, Sue! Another excellent example of your talent and own creativity.

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    1. River Fairchild: Thank you. I am so very grateful to you. Talent and creativity are still not labels I wear with any comfort. Some day. Perhaps.

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  15. Sue, superlative as always. I'm so glad you're writing for us this month. Hope it means good things for you!
    Your piece brought tears to my eyes. Such a talented painter, largely ignored by everyone except his closest family during his lifetime, yet now, the name he has! Why is it that artists, especially, have to be dead before they can be 'discovered'????

    Thanks for a telling entry for CAFE TERRACE!a

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    1. Denise Covey: And huge thanks to you too. I ditched (justifiably ditched) rather a lot of attempts before I got here.
      I wonder too why we seem unable to recognise the talent of our contemporaries and just what will it take to turn that around?

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  16. The painting is amazing and I as wondering how anyone knew it was Van Gogh's work until you mentioned his famous starry skies, which I also didn't now about. Putting two and two together, I like your so eloquent written piece and I too mourn for those who died penniless and under or un, appreciated. It certainly isn't fair for the works to be worth so much, dollar-wise, when the artist is no longer able to appreciate the money that might have kept him alive longer.

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    1. River: He wrote about it to family and friends. In 2017 one of his paintings sold for $111 million dollars. $111 million American dollars - which I find obscene. A similar anger fills me when I hear of CEOs with salaries in the millions of dollars when the workers in their companies are often grotesquely underpaid.

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    2. I 100% agree with you Sue, sports people too. When we were younger, the top soccer player in the UK was paid £8 a week!!!

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    3. Jo: No arguments from me. And yet, nurses and teachers struggle.

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    4. I agree they struggle, the nurses and teachers, yet their wages/salaries are still higher than factory workers and checkout chooks.

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    5. River: And we need them all. The CEOs may also be necessary, but NOT at the obscenely inflated salaries that many of them receive. I am not happy with actors receiving million dollar payouts for one movie either... And the list goes on.

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  17. "Artisti (qualunque sia il loro genere) che non ricevono alcun riconoscimento mentre sono vivi. Sembra così sbagliato È sbagliato".
    Concordo conte.
    Buona giovedi.

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    1. Giancarlo: It is very wrong isn't it? Thank you, and have a wonderful week.

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  18. I'm so glad you were able to join in this month!

    Your writing always speaks to me. This was beautiful, perceptive and poignant. Just suppose he'd sold a few paintings and had a couple more good reviews and lived to a ripe old age - how much more beauty he'd have made, how much more enriched all our lives would be?!

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    1. Nilanjana Bose: Thank you so much. The if only... thoughts make my eyes leak.

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  19. Dear EC
    Beautifully done. I can't help thinking of 'Vincent' by Don Mclean too...
    Best wishes
    Ellie

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    1. Ellie Foster: I thought of that song as I struggled with the piece. And how I wish that his contemporaries had understood, had listened, had supported ...

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  20. This was painfully beautiful. It saddens my heart knowing he, and so many others, die never knowing their true legacy and the impact they leave behind for others to enjoy and be inspired by. Well done, EC.

    Elsie
    (my new domain)

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    1. Elsie Amata: It saddens me too. So much. Thank you.

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  21. Hi,
    I have just written you a FCA and it disappeared. It is aggravating and I know I can't repeat it word for word.

    You have done an outstanding job with this poem.

    1. Emotionally - you have captured the emotional world of an artist that goes unrecognized. It's a darkness that lifts only when he's painting.
    2. Rhythm - The rhythm is offbeat, dissonant where the words seem to clash and is fitting to the poem. It brings out the sadness, the despair, and sadness of Van Gogh and other painters who remain unrecognized until someone discovers them long after they are dead. I love how you brought this dissonance out.
    3. Structurally- each sentence is important. You build the tension with the dissonance in the rhythm and it emitted from me a deep sigh as I thought about all the unsung painters who remained unknown during their life times.
    4. The ending summarises and makes the reader think ...

    And I wonder just what it will take before their names join yours,
    and are blazoned across starry skies.

    I really enjoyed this. Great job.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat G

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    1. Pat Garcia: Thank you for this wonderful critique. I am glad that the poem worked for you (very glad). I despaired of it many times.

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  22. I enjoyed how you made the cafe come to life for me. Amazing, well done.

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    1. Mason Canyon: Thank you so much. I still haven't decided whether I am glad or sad that the cafe he knew is here long after he has gone...

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  23. That is beautiful and rather touching EC..Well done.

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    1. Margaret D: Thank you. I am very glad it reached out to you.

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  24. Well done, I think that Van Gogh would be very proud.

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    1. Bob Bushell: That would be lovely. And thank you for struggling through - I know reading is a challenge for you and I am grateful that you put in the effot.

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  25. I like that tribute a lot, EC and the irony of his gorgeous art, unappreciated until he was long gone. But he painted anyway, regardless of who appreciated what he did. A tribute to the soul, really, when you follow a relentless passion inside yourself as a ghost to the living.

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    1. Strayer: I believe he had to paint, that he needed to paint, but I do still mourn that he was not appreciated at the time. I really like your final sentence. It will stay with me. Thank you.

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  26. I just love how you focus on the smells, we often forget to write about these, you bring it to such life. I too feel so alive at night, when the world is quiet and I am so comfortable in my tininess.

    Thank you!

    XO
    WWW

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    1. Wisewebwoman: The period just before dawn is my time - and I need it and revel in it. Comfortable in my tininess is a wonderful phrase.
      Thank you - and hugs.

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  27. I love Van Gogh's art. This tribute to this great artist is very touching.

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    1. gigi-hawaii: I love it too, and am still so very sad that it took so long for his genius to be seen.

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  28. Such a beautiful tribute to such a talented man, you weave your words beautifully taking us on such a journey!

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    1. Laurie: High praise coming from an accomplished word weaver. Thank you.

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  29. Na noite eu acordo e é quando todos os meus sentidos ficam mais apurados.
    Que linda e prestigiosa homenagem.
    Sorrisos de talento.
    Aplausos.
    Megy Maia

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    1. Megy Maia: Many thanks. The very early morning is my best time.

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  30. Very proud of you . Take care

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  31. Wow, you might've "struggled" with it, but it sure doesn't SHOW! Brilliant, Sue. Your words are evocative, and they almost read like a love letter to Van Gogh. Well done!

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    1. Susan: Thank you. Believe me the struggle was real, and a lot of drafts were binned. Justifiably binned. A love letter to Vincent? Oh yes. And to other artists too.

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  32. Jilda and I watched Lust for Life earlier this week. I don't watch much television, but this one was different. The moving was haunting and beautiful.

    You said a great deal with few words in your post tonight. Well done.

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    1. Rick Watson: I read the Irving Stone book years ago, but haven't seen the movie.
      Thank you re the words. For someone who talks too much I tend to be decidedly restrained in print.

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  33. I realized just how little I know about Van Gogh when I saw the subject matter of your poem, so in order to understand and appreciate it better I spent some time reading about him . . . and never made it back to comment yesterday.

    What a hard life he had, and yet was driven to create. The comment on wikipedia that stood out for me was that this picture was reliably dated based on the remarkably accurate constellations painted in the sky! Imagine. It rather blows the mind. And to know that he struggled with mental health all the while, and died at his own hand. He must have been desperate at the end.

    Your feelings of despair for his struggles and the lack of appreciation in his own lifetime are well expressed, EC. Well done, I say.

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    1. jenny_o: I was blown away when I learnt just how accurately his constellation depiction was as well. And that he painted it on site. And that there is no black in that glorious sky...
      My heart aches for him. As it does for everyone who struggles with a lack of appreciation, let alone those who add poverty and mental illness to the mix.

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  34. Nicely written Sue. A beautiful poetic tribute to van Gough. He would have liked the sentiment.

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    1. dolorah: I hope so, but I wonder whether even he realised just how good his work is (I started to type was, but it was excellent and it is excellent still).

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  35. I love Vincent!!
    http://sepatuholig.blogspot.com
    IG @wonky.pots

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    1. septuholig-Grace Njio: Thank you. He was an incredible artist wasn't he?

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  36. Недавно прочитала книгу "Жажда жизни" Ирвинга Стоуна. Хочется больше узнать о Ван Гоге. Спасибо за информацию!

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    1. Lyudmila Kishkunova: Welcome and Thank you. He was a fascinating man, and there are other much more informative places to learn about him than here. I hope you find the information you seek.

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  37. Well written. Emotions are well done.

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    1. Nas: Many thanks. Isn't it sad that so long after his death he still tugs at our heart?

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  38. What wonderful words of tribute, and I love your writing so much! Hugs, RO

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    1. RO: Thank you. He deserves tribute doesn't he? Hugs received and reciprocated.

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  39. What wonderful words. Emotions are spot on! And so true. We had a writer in India Munshi Prem Chand who met a similar fate. The last stanza really got me wondering. Well done!

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    1. Sonia Dogra: So many artists (regardless of their genre) struggle this way. Which hurts my heart and my head. I am sorry that you know of yet another.

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  40. Van Gogh is one of my favourite artists. Like so many artists before and still in this day and age their death has to come before people realize just how much they had to give and how much we have to learn. It breaks my heart. You captured it so well in words. Thank you for your insight and talent in putting it into words. B

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    1. Buttons alias Grace: Thank you. It is awful that this is as true today as it ever was isn't it? And yes, it hurts me too.

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  41. Oh my, such a wonderful and heartfelt tribute to this artist as well as to all the struggling and starving artists.

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    1. Carrie Ann: Thank you. I do wonder at societies priorities. And think that they/we have it wrong.

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  42. Oh WOW, this is absolutely amazing work...and it aroused such emotion as I read.
    A most beautiful tribute...:))

    Lots of love and hugs xxxxxxx

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    1. Ygraine: That is a truly lovely thing to say. I am so glad that I was able to convey the emotions attached to my reaction to this (and many other) artist's work.

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  43. Oh your writing! What a beautiful romance you have with words:)
    I grew up intrigued but a little frightened by Starry Night
    hung beside my grandmother's bed...during the night it would seem to transform into scary shapes that moved. I love it now. He has always fascinated me.
    Love your words - oh to read more of them please!
    -Jennifer

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    1. Jennifer Richardson: I can see how Starry Night would move in the darkness, and can also see that it would create fear. Emotions that he felt - and you shared...

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  44. Hi Sue - I think you've excelled yourself ... we've been taken back to van Gogh's time and despite your struggles with the prompt - you've really taken us back to 'his cafe'. The mood you create with your words tie in so well with his life - just loved it. Amazing writing ...

    Too many artists are only remembered, revered after they have passed on ... so sad. This really evokes those times ... so clever, and so succinct ... wonderful - cheers Hilary

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    1. Hilary Melton-Butcher: Huge thanks. I did really struggle with this prompt, perhaps because of my awe of Van Goph's talent and the ache I feel on his behalf. And of so many artists...

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  45. I love this, I simply love this. Reading this text of yours I don't see your struggle - but then, we don't see Van Gogh's struggles either when we stand in front of his beautiful paintings. I remember seeing his "Sunflowers" for the very first time in London - this one painting lit up the entire room!
    I went to the website of WEP because I had no idea what it stands for. Out of curiosity I signed up for their emails.

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    1. Carola Bartz: How I would love to see Sunflowers in the flesh. And of course it would light up the room.
      I hope that you enjoy WEP as much as I do. I am always blown away by the talent of the contributors and the very different directions each prompt takes people down...

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  46. Dear EC, once again, your writing captures a mood, a time, a place. The use of the "blazoned" in the final line is a master stroke. It streaks across the sky announcing the genius of Van Gogh, a man unappreciated in his time (as Hermann Melville, the writer, was--he died in poverty in New York in the early 20th century). I so appreciate and respect your bringing in all the artists who are unappreciated or under-appreciated. There is a Oneness to that. Peace.

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    1. Dee: Thank you. Blazoned was a late addition. I really struggled finding the right word to express the power of his work. And yes, I do grieve for all the unappreciated ones, the talented Eleanor Rigbys who populate the artist world..

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  47. I was at his exhibition and I love it ♥

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    1. Kinga K.: How lucky you are. I have only seen a couple of his paintings for myself and was blown away.

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  48. This is beautifully written! It's truly tragic that so many artists die unappreciated. Van Gogh was a master at his craft, and I'm glad that cafe lives on.

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    1. L.G. Keltner: Thank you. I am really uncertain how I feel about the cafe Van Gogh. I suspect that actually going to the cafe was beyond his straightened means often, and now it proudly bears his name. Yet another celebration of his genius which came to late for him.

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  49. Nice article & great written. I followed your blog now. Thx

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    1. Vicky Cahyagi: Welcome and thank you. I will be over to visit you shortly.

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  50. Come sempre un bel post.
    Un sereno fine settimana per te.

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    1. Giancarlo: Many thanks. I hope your weekend is filled with joy.

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  51. Perhaps only poetry can capture how and why we connect with the beauty of Van Gogh’s art and the tragedy of his life, as you do here. I love the imagery you use to bring this most famous cafe to life, a compelling, emotional poem. Thank you!

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    1. Beth Camp: I think it was Rumi who said that poetry is the language of the heart. And Van Gogh speaks loudly to mine. Thank you.

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  52. Aww, this really tugged at my heartstrings. It's tragic that Van Gogh never knew what a success his paintings would become. You brought the scene from the painting to life with your words, well done. The last two lines leave a great impact.

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    1. Anstice Brown: I find it hard to understand why his genius (and I believe he was a genius) was not recognised. And mourn for him and too many others.

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  53. A lovely poem with such sad emotions to pay homage to the artist and the art. Nicely done!

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    1. Toi Thomas: Thank you. If I had to define myself it would be as an appreciator. I really do grieve for the artists (of all genres) who suffer without acknowledgement.

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  54. Sue, you're such a prolific and experienced writer. You brought the cafe alive with its scents and sounds and the tragedy of unrecognised art work.

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    1. Kalpana: Thank you. I am glad to have brought the cafe alive, but am a complete amateur compared with many (most?) of the other contributors.

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    2. You're not an amateur. Your writing is evocative, skilful and always fun to read.

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    3. Kalpana: Thank you. The support I have received from the WEP team and contributors humbles me and blows me away.

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  55. It's amazing how this painting and all his works seem to speak to so many of us all these years later. You've captured the atmosphere of the painting well.

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    1. Sally: I think it is the mark of a genius that he speaks to so many of us, and mourn that he never knew just what his work would mean to the world.

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  56. This was so beautiful it brought tears to my eyes. I always resonated with Van Gogh. There was something wonderful and kind about that beautiful, misunderstood soul. I wish I could have been his friend.
    I said to my son that the only thing I really fear about death is the knowledge that my worlds will be lost. My only hope is that I may join the likes of Van Gogh and Lovecraft in posthumous fame.
    Some of us have so much to say, but because we are different, no-one hears.

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    1. The Ornery Old Lady: Thank you. Coming from you that is high (and much appreciated) praise.

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  57. I do like the painting and your words … very well done :)

    All the best Jan

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    1. Lowcarb team member ~Jan: Thank you. Yet again the WEP prompt triggered some amazing stories. I hope you can find the time to visit some of the others.

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  58. What a wonderful tribute to Van Gogh. I wonder if he 'knows' how beloved he is now. Certainly one of my favourite artists.

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    1. Donna Hanton: Thank you. I wonder that too, and also wonder whether it would make it better or worse. He is an artist who fills me with awe, with wonder, with delight.

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  59. You truly have a gift EC! What a beautiful tribute! Your words have so much heart in them! Thank you for this great write! Big Hugs!

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  60. A crafted and moving tribute to a tragic and talented artist. Having seen many of his paintings and drawings in the main Dutch galleries housing them, I'm always struck by how unappreciated he was in his short life as an artist. He even changed his style a few times but events kept beating him down. Life is tough when others don't understand what we are going through - as you know.

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    1. Roland Clarke: Thank you. I am so glad that it seems my struggles with this piece were not evident. And yes, I do still mourn for talent unrecognised and unappreciated.

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    2. I was interested to discover this articles on some people's appreciation of van Gogh in his lifetime, which makes his tragic death much sadder: https://www.liveabout.com/van-gogh-sold-only-one-painting-4050008

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    3. Roland Clarke: It does. Some people (including his family) did appreciate him and his work, but not enough. Not nearly enough.

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  61. Dear E.C. What a beautiful tribute to Vincent Van Gogh, poetic and concise. Well done.
    I recently saw an animated film, story painted as Van Gogh would have, about Vincent’s friendship with the postman , when he lived just outside Paris. The postman’s son revisits the village, on his father’s behalf, to deliver a letter Van Gogh wrote to his brother, that was never received. Have you seen it ? Thought you might like to. Here’s the link to the trailer.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CGzKnyhYDQI
    Loving Vincent.

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    1. Susan B: Thank you. I haven't seen that trailer, and will have a look later.

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  62. Just an incredible work, this is absolutely beautiful �� Café turned lively, I just loved the paintings it has set high standards. Amazing tribute to Van Gogh I am in tears. Agree!! There have been so many who were unknown before they pass away. Seriously so beautifully it's written!! Well done EC ��

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    1. Andrea Charles: Welcome - and thank you so much. How I wish that we didn't expect artists to live on the smell of an oily rag, but we did, and we do.

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