The Letters Page
2 min readDec 1, 2021

By Sakshi Rawal

Edited by Lizzie Alblas

Pollard Willow — To Theo from The Hague July 1882 (252). Photo credit: flickr.

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,




The Letters Page

Written by The Letters Page’s Content team, this page consists of features for the correspondence themed journal published by the University of Nottingham.