By Sakshi Rawal
Edited by Lizzie Alblas
This post and poem has been written by Sakshi Rawal, a placement student with The Letters Page, in response to her own research into letter writing.
Every line of this poem has been taken from a letter written by Vincent Van Gogh to his brother Theo Van Gogh. Reading some of these letters reminded me that the world was a very uncomplicated place at some point. The simplicity of Van Gogh’s words but the complexity of the emotions and experiences conveyed through them helped me remember how powerful writing can be.
In his letters, he shared his ideas and feelings, lists of supplies and all his experiences in Paris. Some of the letters were annotated by quick sketches or drawings called ‘Scratches’. He penned over 2000 letters in his lifetime.
My dear Theo,
It’s Sunday today and you’re never out of my thoughts
Old boy, I long so much for Christmas and home and you
But on the road I’m on, I must continue
Someone has a great fire in his soul
And nobody ever comes
To warm themselves at it
and little by little I’m probably going to make trips into it
Tell me which painters you like best, I’m curious to know
What I have found beautiful and good in the beginning, I still find to be so
When there’s nothing else, there’s always something more
We still have a long way to go
Live — do something
In the life of the painter, death may perhaps not be the most difficult thing.
If I’m not mad the time will come when I’ll send you what I’ve promised you from the beginning
I still have a certain ‘what’s the good of getting better
How important he seemed in life. How hollow and empty he proved to be later
You’ve become a stranger to me, and I am one to you
old chap, write soon, with a handshake.
Tout à toi,